Long-term climate change effects on soil microbial diversity and function

Country: United Kingdom;

Deadline: 19.04.2015

Web-Site: findaphd.com


The responses of soil microorganisms to climate change will influence a number of key ecosystem processes. Changes in precipitation and temperature can affect soil microorganisms directly by altering their activity and growth but also indirectly via changes in vegetation and plant inputs. We are only beginning to understand how the effects of climate change might modify the structure and function of soil microbial communities and it is essential that we look beyond short-term responses to determine how shifts in soil microbial communities could affect soil processes and plant growth over the longer term.

The successful applicant will work at the Buxton Climate Change Impacts Laboratory (BCCIL), one of the longest-running climate change experiments in the world. Field measurements, lab studies and greenhouse experiments will be combined with state-of-the art biogeochemical and molecular techniques to investigate how shifts in soil microbial communities relate to plant traits, decomposition processes, and nutrient dynamics. The results of the project will provide a better mechanistic understanding of the impact of climate changes on soil microorganisms and the processes they mediate.

You will join a lively and supportive research group at the vibrant Lancaster Environment Centre and benefit from the training programme offered by the STARS Centre for Doctoral Training. You will undertake fieldwork in the Peak District, using a range of standard and novel approaches to investigate climate change effects and carry out laboratory work at the University of Lancaster and CEH Wallingford. You will learn a wide range of research skills, including experimental design, measurement of soil parameters, data analysis, and science communication. You will also receive in-depth training in molecular techniques, including next-generation sequencing, with one of the UK’s leading research groups in soil molecular microbial ecology.

Further information: http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/sci-tech/downloads/phd_233.pdf

Academic Requirements: First-class or 2.1 (Hons) degree, or Masters degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate subject. A good BSc or Masters degree. You should have a strong background in Ecology, Soil Science, Biogeochemistry, Biology or Environmental Science. You must have demonstrable potential for creative, high-quality PhD research and willingness to conduct fieldwork in all kinds of weather. Experience in experimental research projects is desirable but not essential.

Deadline for applications: Sunday 19th April

Interview date: TBC

Start Date: October 2015

For further information or informal discussion about the position, please contact Dr Emma Sayer (e.sayer@lancaster.ac.uk)
Application process: Please upload a CV with a maximum of three pages and completed application form (upload under cover letter (download from http://www.starsoil.org.uk/portal/STARS_student_application_form.doc)) at LEC Postgraduate Research Applications, http://www.lec.lancs.ac.uk/postgraduate/pgresearch/apply-online.

You also require 2 references, please send the reference form (download from http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/iens/lec/docs/LECPG/PG_Reference_Form_LEC.docx) to your 2 referees and ask them to email it to Andy Harrod (lec.pg@lancaster.ac.uk), Postgraduate Research (PGR) Co-ordinator, Lancaster Environment Centre by the deadline.

Due to the limited time between the closing date and the interview date, it is essential that you ensure references are submitted by the closing date or as soon as possible.

Funding Notes:

The studentship is only available to UK and other EU nationals (due to funding criteria, EU nationals who have not been resident in the UK for the three years prior to the start of their studentship will be restricted to a fees-only award). Each student will be supported by the tax-free stipend (£13,863 in 2013/14), typically for 3.5 years. In addition, for eligible students, the award will cover EU/UK fees. Unfortunately studentships are not available to non-UK/EU applicants.



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