PhD Researcher (m/f/d) - Adaptation and acclimation of the clonal oak’s ectomycorrhizal fungi to biotic and abiotic environmental factors

The Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research GmbH – UFZ
June 12, 2023
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
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Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Negotigation
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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.

The job

Symbiotic interactions with holobiont partners that enhance nutrient and water uptake by trees, the ectomycorrhizal fungi, can support host acclimation to changing conditions, with benefits for long-lived trees facing climate change. There are serious gaps in our understanding of the ecological roles of ectomycorrhizal fungi at the level of inter- and intraspecific diversity: how do they mediate root functions and support tree adaptation and acclimation? Furthermore, are ectomycorrhizal fungi adapted to their local environmental conditions? The project aims to fill this knowledge gap by investigating the contribution of ectomycorrhizal symbiosis to the acclimation of oak holobiont under biotic and abiotic stressors, taking into account the endogenous rhythmic growth. The ectomycorrhizal root tip communities will be analysed in field-monitoring sites, Tree Canopy Exposition and Ecotron Experiments of the Research Unit 5571 “PhytOakmeter”. These ecological gradients and experiments will represent a wide range of environments and controlled stress situations, and will allow analysis of the modulating influence of the endogenous rhythmic growth on ectomycorrhiza formation and function. A combination of morphotyping, enzyme activity, metabarcoding and gene expression analyses supports the project's objectives. The Research Unit (https: // www. uni- is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

Your tasks
  • Contribution to joint samplings in the three platforms of the Research Unit
  • DNA, RNA and enzyme extractions of oak ectomycorrhizas and roots
  • Accessing fungal and bacterial communities by amplicon, and fungal and plant gene expression by RNA sequencing
  • Bioinformatical and statistical downstream processing of the sequencing data
  • Presenting and publishing of results on international conferences and in peer-reviewed journals
  • PhD thesis
  • We offer
  • Excellent technical facilities which are without parallel
  • The freedom you need to bridge the difficult gap between basic research and close to being ready for application
  • Work in inter-disciplinary, multinational teams
  • Excellent links with national and international research networks
  • Excellent support and optimal subject-specific and general training with our HIGRADE graduate school
  • Your profile
  • A scientific University degree (Diploma/ M.Sc.) in biology, microbiology, ecology, bioinformatics, or related fields of science
  • Highly motivated and team-oriented
  • Broad interest in plant-associated microbial communities
  • Good statistical (preferable with R) and analysis skills
  • Very good oral and written communication skills in English
  • Travel availability
  • Driving licence B
  • From this employer

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