Thesis project: Density fractionation of soil organic matter to trace biotic and abiotic drivers of carbon stabilization

Thesis project: Density fractionation of soil organic matter to trace biotic and abiotic drivers of carbon stabilization

Vacature
Terrestrial Ecology

Contact Pers:

Droevendaalsesteeg 10
6708 PB Wageningen

Soils have great potential to store carbon in soil organic matter, potentially helping to mitigate climate change. However, we have limited understanding of how this storage occurs, and what biotic and abiotic factors influence the flow of C into stable soil organic matter.

Soil samples are available that have received 13C-labelled plant material under various conditions, providing an opportunity to study its incorporation into different soil fractions of varying stability. 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 microbiological communities on C stabilization
  • Test whether iron oxides increase mineral-associated organic matter

The project is suitable for an MSc thesis, and will provide space to develop original hypotheses and experiments within the scope of the broader research question.

Details  

This student project will be hosted at the Department of Chemical Soil Quality (WUR) from September 2022 for a period of 6 months (specific dates can be negotiated).

  • Supervisor(s)  Kyle Mason-Jones (NIOO-KNAW); Guusje Koorneef (WUR); Rob Comans (WUR)
  • Examiner(s)    Mathilde Hagens (SOC)
  • Contact info    k.masonjones@nioo.knaw.nl

Skills

The candidate will master skills in soil organic matter analysis at the interface of soil chemistry and biology.

Requirements

Background in 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, so knowledge of Dutch will not be necessary.