Soil microorganisms play important roles in carbon cycling, plant nutrition, and greenhouse gas production. Viruses that infect bacteria (phages) are abundant in soil, but their influence on these soil functions is not well known.
In this project we develop and apply laboratory methods to assess how phages interact with soil materials; to extract phages from soil; and to determine how phages affect bacterial communities.
Techniques include phage extraction, molecular biology, bacterial culturing and soil chemical analysis, to test such hypotheses as:
- Phages reduce greenhouse gas emissions from soil
- Phages increase dissolved organic carbon and nitrogen
- Phages enhance plant nutrient availability
The project offers opportunities for an MSc thesis or internship, and will 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.
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 September 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 email@example.com.