Carbon storage traits in soil microbiology

Carbon storage traits in soil microbiology

Terrestrial Ecology

Contact Person:

Droevendaalsesteeg 10
6708 PB Wageningen

Soil microbial metabolism is important for global carbon cycling. Recent work has shown that soil microbes not only use carbon for growth and energy, but also store carbon in compounds analogous to fat reserves in animals. We aim to understand the role of storage physiology for soil microbial life and the implications for carbon cycling.

We are offering internships at HBO and MSc level to develop qPCR methods for tracing storage compound synthesis genes in soil. These will be applied in incubation experiments in combination with isotopic labelling and storage compound analysis to test hypotheses about how storage traits benefit survival and growth of particular microbial groups. The project will also provide space to develop original hypotheses and experiments within the broader research question. Candidates will master skills at the cutting edge of soil ecology research.

Skills required: candidates should have a background in biological sciences, with laboratory experience in chemistry, soil science or microbiology. Self-motivation and the ability to work independently is needed. The working language will be English, so knowledge of Dutch will not be necessary.

Students will be hosted from May 2022 or later at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO) for a period of up to 6 months (dates are flexible). For enquiries, please contact Dr Kyle Mason-Jones at