PhD position (m/f/x) Substrate affects microbial driven distribution of energy and matter among organic carbon functional pools in soil

The Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research GmbH – UFZ


October 31, 2021


The Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) with its 1,100 employees has gained an excellent reputation as an international competence centre for environmental sciences. We are part of the largest scientific organisation in Germany, the Helmholtz association. Our mission: Our research seeks to find a balance between social development and the long-term protection of our natural resources.

In the framework of the project "Substrate affects microbial driven distribution of energy and matter among organic carbon functional pools in soil" (Driver pool), funded by the DFG, the University of Koblenz-Landau and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) offer one PhD student position with an intended earliest possible starting date of January 2022 for a duration of three years. The suited candidate is expected to work on half of project duration at the University of Koblenz-Landau, Campus Landau and the other half at the UFZ and to closely collaborate with two further PhD at the Trier University within the project. As the project is part of the DFG priority program 2322 'SoilSystems' (https: // www. uni-, close collaboration with the other projects of this priority program is essential. For this position we are looking for

PhD position (m/f/x) Substrate affects microbial driven distribution of

energy and matter among organic carbon functional pools in soil

Project start date: January 1st, 2022, 70% (27.3 hours per week), limited for 3 years, application deadline October. 31st, 2021, Interviews in the 2nd and 3rd week of November, working places University of Koblenz-Landau (35%) and UFZ (35 %)

Your tasks:

Your tasks in this project will be to unravel the interplay between energy fluxes and the turnover pathways of various organic material in soils. For this purpose different calorimetric (IMC, TGA-DSC), respirometric (CER) techniques located in UFZ Leipzig and in Campus Landau, University Koblenz- Landau, will be applied and developed for the analysis of energy fluxes in soil systems and combined with the chemical quantification of material fluxes (C and N balances, 13C, PLFA, metabolomics, biomarkers etc.) and selected enzyme quantifications (endo- and exoenzymes) as a measure of microbial adaptation and activity. The experiments will be performed at the University of Koblenz-Landau and the UFZ. Finally, based on all obtained data, equilibrium and non-equilibrium thermodynamic approaches will be used to model the complex soil processes and the influence of the substrates on these processes. This work will be carried out in close collaboration with other project partners who complement the research by modelling or by dealing with other influencing factors such as environmental conditions, soil types, trophic interactions, and microbial communities.

Your profile:
  • Master degree in soil science, physical chemistry, chemistry, biochemistry, biology, environmental sciences or equivalent field
  • Interest in complex and interdisciplinary relationships in soil systems
  • No reservations to consider modeling and ecological aspects in soil systems
  • First experience in the areas of calorimetry, thermodynamics, soil science, environmental microbiology, as well as isotope tracer experiments are of advantage
  • Willingness to work in an interdisciplinary and international team
  • Very good skills in English
  • We offer:
  • Top level interdisciplinary research at both a research centre and university which enjoys an excellent reputation within Germany as well as internationally - Excellent technical facilities - Work in inter-disciplinary and multinational teams - Excellent links to national and international research networks - Support and optimal training courses by our graduate school (HIGRADE) at the UFZ and IPZ at the University Koblenz-Landau - Remuneration in accordance with the TVöD public-sector pay grade 13 (70%)