Student project: Density fractionation of soil organic matter to trace biotic and abiotic drivers of carbon stabilization
Student project: Density fractionation of soil organic matter to trace biotic and abiotic drivers of carbon stabilizationTerrestrial Ecology
Soils have great potential to store carbon. However, we don’t fully understand what biotic and abiotic factors influence C stabilization in soil organic matter.
Soil samples are available that have received 13C-labelled plant material, providing an opportunity to study its stabilization in different soil fractions.
This project will apply density fractionation using these samples to:
- Measure stabilization of plant C in mineral-associated organic matter
- Test the effects of soil microbes on C stabilization
- Test how iron oxides contribute to C stabilization
The project is suitable for an MSc thesis, and will provide space to develop original hypotheses and experiments within the research question.
Department of Chemical Soil Quality (WUR) from January 2023 for a period of 6 months (specific dates are flexible).
Skills to be gained
The candidate will master skills in soil organic matter analysis at the interface of soil chemistry and biology.
Background in biology, environmental, chemical or agricultural sciences, with laboratory experience an advantage. Self-motivation and the ability to work independently is needed. The working language will be English.
Kyle Mason-Jones (NIOO-KNAW); Guusje Koorneef (SBL/SOC); Rob Comans (SOC)