Student project: Virus drivers of soil biogeochemistry

Student project: Virus drivers of soil biogeochemistry

Terrestrial Ecology

Contact Person:

Droevendaalsesteeg 10
6708 PB Wageningen

Soil viruses are among the least explored components of terrestrial ecosystems. Viruses that infect bacteria (phages) are abundant in soil, with potentially strong influence on carbon cycling, plant nutrition, and greenhouse gas production.

Kyle Mason-Jones

This project investigates the soil virosphere to assess phage interactions with soil materials, host bacteria, and soil fauna, with the aim to understand their influence on carbon and nitrogen cycling. Techniques include experimentation with model organisms, molecular methods, and/or stable isotope probing to follow element flows.

The project offers opportunities for MSc theses or internships, and will provide space to develop original hypotheses and experiments within the broader research question.


Department of Terrestrial Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) from January 2023 for a period of 6 months (specific dates are flexible).

Skills to be gained

Students will master microbiology and molecular skills at the cutting edge of soil ecology research.


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); Lisa van Sluijs (Virology)