PhD position in Terrestrial Ecology: Abiotic and biotic controls of moss-associated nitrogen fixation in forest ecosystems

Department of Biology
Faculty of Science
University of Copenhagen

The Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) is offering a PhD position in Terrestrial Ecology on moss-cyanobacteria associations commencing 15.03.2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Description of the scientific environment
The successful applicant will be based at the Ecosystem Ecology group, Terrestrial Ecology Section, thereby joining a lively research environment covering a wide range of topics such as plant ecophysiology, biogeochemistry, diversity, soil biology and ecosystem-atmosphere interactions. Our section is a diverse group comprising research and teaching staff members, laboratory technicians, PhD candidates and MSc and BSc students, focussing on many aspects of plant- and microbial activity, nutrient cycling and global change. The section has state-of-the-art laboratory facilities and substantial experience in conducting laboratory and field-based experiments.

Project description
The PhD position is part of a 5-year Starting Grant financed by the European Research Council (ERC) lead by Tenure-Track Assistant Professor Kathrin Rousk.

The aims of this project is to (1) identify the effects of abiotic factors (i.e. moisture availability,  temperature) on moss-associated nitrogen (N2) fixation in contrasting ecosystems -boreal and tropical forests. For this, samples will be collected in boreal forests as well as in tropical cloud forests and N2 fixation will be assessed in different moss species under controlled conditions in the K Rousk lab at the Dept. of Biology at UCPH. Samples will be exposed to a range of temperatures and moisture levels and N2 fixation will be measured using a combination of the acetylene reduction assay (ARA) and 15N-N2 tracking. In parallel with the assessment of N2 fixation, the abundance of the cyanobacterial colonizers (e.g. phycocyanin assays) and the bacterial community composition will be identified using DNA sequencing. The second aim (2) of this project is to determine the nutrient exchange, and thereby the nature of the relationship moss and colonizing cyanobacteria share using nanoSIMS.

Principal supervisor is Tenure-Track Assistant Professor Kathrin Rousk, Dept. of Biology, kathrin.rousk@bio.ku.dk. Co-supervisor is Prof. Anders Priemé, aprieme@bio.ku.dk, Dept. of Biology.

Job description
The position is available for a 3-year period and your key tasks as a PhD student at SCIENCE are:

  • To manage and carry through your research project
  • To attend PhD courses
  • To write scientific articles and your PhD thesis
  • To teach and disseminate your research
  • To stay at an external research institution for a few months, preferably abroad
  • To work for the department

Formal requirements
Applicants should hold a MSc degree or equivalent in biology, ecology, microbial ecology, molecular biology, biogeochemistry or a closely related field. As criteria for the assessment of your qualifications, emphasis will also be laid on previous publications (if any) and relevant work experience.

We are seeking a highly motivated and ambitious individual with good interpersonal and communication skills. Previous experience in collecting of and working with live plant material; stable isotope tracking; microbiology; molecular biology techniques such as DNA extraction and DNA sequencing; cell biological techniques such as fluorescence microscopy will be considered a plus.

Fluency in spoken and written English is a requirement.

Terms of employment
The position is covered by the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff.

Terms of appointment and payment accord to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State.

The starting salary is currently at a minimum DKK 331,125 (approx. €43,750) including annual supplement (+ pension up to DKK 53,811). Negotiation for salary supplement is possible.

Application Procedure
The application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

Please include

  • Cover Letter (1 page) describing your background, personal qualities, research interests and motivation for applying for this position
  • CV (max. 2 pages)
  • Diploma and transcripts of records (BSc and MSc)
  • Other information for consideration, e.g. list of publications (if any)
  • A short abstract of the MSc thesis
  • 2 reference letters

The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

The deadline for applications is 31.01.2021, 23:59 GMT +1

Procedures and shortlisting
After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Interview Committee. Afterwards, an assessment committee will be appointed to evaluate the selected applications. The applicants will be notified of the composition of the committee and the final selection of a successful candidate will be made by the Head of Department, based on the recommendations of the assessment committee and the interview committee.

The main criterion for selection will be the research potential of the applicant and the above mentioned skills. The successful candidate will then be requested to formally apply for enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD school of Science. You can read more about the recruitment process at https://employment.ku.dk/faculty/recruitment-process/ 

Questions
For specific information about the PhD scholarship, please contact the principal supervisor Kathrin Rousk, Department of Biology, kathrin.rousk@bio.ku.dk.

General information about PhD programmes at SCIENCE is available at https://www.science.ku.dk/phd 

 

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Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.

Info

Application deadline: 31-01-2021
Employment start: 15-03-2021
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: Department of Biology

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