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PhD position in Biogeochemistry (Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany)

#1 von Karsten , 30.01.2018 09:41

The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and its Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research / Atmospheric Environmental Research (KIT/IMK-IFU) at Campus Alpine in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, invites applications for:

PhD position in Biogeochemistry

The division of “BioGeoChemical Cycles� at IMK-IFU has a vacancy for a PhD position to study the environmental consequences of excess nitrogen use for vegetable production in Chinese solar greenhouse system. The position is for three years starting earliest May,1, 2017 (latest: July, 1, 2017) and is funded by the German Science Foundation (DFG) within a cooperation project with the National Science Foundation of China (NSFC), who funds a partner project by colleagues from the China Agricultural University (CAU).

Approx. 1/3 of all vegetables consumed in China are produced by smallholders in so-called solar greenhouses. However, farmers are overusing fertilizers, specifically N based fertilizers, and application rates >2000 kg N ha-1 yr-1 in two growing seasons are rather normal and not the exception. This has been causing tremendous environmental problems: soil acidification and salinization, degradation of soil ecological functions and increased occurrence of pathogens, accumulation of fungicides, pesticides and nitrates in top- and subsoils, nitrate pollution of groundwater, and increased losses of the greenhouse gas N2O.

The overall objective of the project is the characterization and quantification of changes in plant and/ or microbial N removal, N immobilization processes and gaseous N losses for differently managed greenhouse soils as compared to conventionally managed arable soil. As part of a broader effort to identify feasible approaches for soil restoration and mitigation of soil hydrological and gaseous N losses the main foci of the PhD project will be on: 1) Quantification of changes in actual and potential denitrification rates in soil profiles of intensively managed solar greenhouse vegetable system as affected by management and land use history. 2) Assessment of the effectiveness of anaerobic soil infestation and DOC additions to subsoils (here 25-300 cm) for removing excess NO3- from top- and subsoils. 3) Identification of potential soil restoration measures and management methods such as biochar and/or straw application for its effectiveness in increasing soil health, soil N re!
tention p
otentials and NUE efficiency as well as reducing greenhouse gas emission and hydrological N losses from greenhouse vegetable production systems.


The candidate should have strong interest in biogeochemistry and N and C cycling in intensively used agricultural systems as well as practical experience in these fields, preferably including the use of stable isotope and/or radioisotope labelling for quantification of microbial processes in soils. The candidate should hold an MSc degree (or equivalent) in a relevant discipline. Good lab skills and an aptitude for fieldwork are required, and the candidate should be able to join longer field stays in China.

We offer

State of the art technical research infrastructure, advanced training and a vibrant and friendly, international research environment in the beautiful surroundings of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. The salary will be equivalent to the public service TV-L13 (65%).

For more information please contact Prof. Dr. Klaus Butterbach-Bahl (


Applications should be sent by email to Prof. Dr. Klaus Butterbach-Bahl ( by 15. March 2017.

Application must be made in the form of a Declaration of Interest including the following:
· A research proposal/description of your approach to the above project (max one page excluding references)
· A letter stating your specific interest, motivation and qualifications for the project in question (max. two pages)
· Detailed CV, including personal contact information
· Copies of diplomas, Bachelor as well as Master’s degree, including transcript of notes/grades
· At least two signed reference letters. Should your referees wish to send their letters directly to us, please have them use the following e-mail: mentioning your name and the title of the position in the subject line.

All information should be made available before the deadline.

KIT strives to achieve gender balance at all levels of employment. We therefore particularly encourage female candidates to apply for this position. With appropriate qualifications, applications from persons with handicaps will be treated with preference



Edwin Haas
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

Ansprechpartner: Prof. Klaus Butterbach-Bahl,

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