PhD Student in Sciences: IMPACTS OF PLANT-MICROBIAL SYMBIOTIC RELATIONS ON PROCESSES OF PLANT LITER DECOMPOSITION AND SOIL C SEQUESTRATION
Symbiotic relations between plants and microorganisms, such as mycorrhizas and symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria are known to mediate soil microbial communities and to have a potential to affect biogeochemical cycles. Yet the mechanisms of these effects are understood poorly in terms of processes involved as well as in terms of quantification of their impacts. This project aims to examine impacts of plant-microbial symbiotic relationships on mechanisms of litter decomposition and soil C accumulation. A PhD candidate will examine impacts of arbuscular and ecto-mycorrhizas, and of nitrogen fixing bacteria on dynamics of soil decomposer communities, on carbon release from the decomposing litter and on the fate of that carbon: does it get respired and released to the atmosphere? does this take labile or stable forms in soil, and if so, through which mechanisms? This project will be conducted in collaboration with German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research. We are looking for a candidate with a strong background in at least one of the following fields: microbiology, microbial ecology, biogeochemical cycles, soil ecology. A combination of skills related to several of these fields will be considered as a candidate advantage, though is not strictly necessary, as long as a candidate is willing to obtain the lacking expertise. A successful candidate is expected to have excellent command of English language, good knowledge of statistical analyses techniques and to be acquainted with statistical software such as R, Matlab, SPSS or similar.