Ph. D. Position in the project „Soil Crust InterNational (SCIN) – Understanding and valuing biological soil protection of disturbed and open land surfaces“ :
Description: The project „Soil Crust InterNational (SCIN) – Understanding and valuing biological soil protection of disturbed and open land surfaces“ is being funded by the BiodivERsA network (an ERA-net project under the European Union’s 7th Framework Programme for Research) for the duration of three years.
The aim of the project is to achieve both better appreciation of the functioning and importance of biological soil crusts (BSC) in Europe and to add value by contributing to the development of better and simpler soil protection practices and policies. BSC are the biologically modified soil surface that form naturally in open areas. They are typically composed of cyanobacteria, algae, lichens, bryophytes and micro fungi in varying amounts and can be the only vegetation cover in arid and semiarid regions such as hot and cold deserts or xerothermic steppe vegetation. BSC provide several ecosystem services such as soil stabilization, erosion limitation and facilitation of colonization by higher plants. They are supposed to contribute as much as 6% of the annual global CO2-fixation and 30-60% of the annual global nitrogen input into the earth’s ecosystems.
Within the SCIN project, functionality of BSC in Europe will be studied from the severest desert to the alpine ecosystems. Estimates of annual productivity will be achieved through continual, in situ, and monitoring of BSC activity linked to detailed photosynthetic measurements. Rates of change and recovery will be determined leading to indices of sensitivity. The functional studies will be backed by detailed biodiversity assessments that aim to reveal the key organisms in BSC functioning over a wide latitudinal, altitudinal and climatic range.
Requirements: Applicants must have a diploma or masters in biology (preferably in ecology) or equivalent degree. Project tasks comprise ecological studies (microclimate and gas exchange measurements, vegetation analyses) in the field (Sweden, Germany, Austrian Alps) and lab analyses. The successful applicant needs the skills to conduct self-dependent field work over longer time-spans and the ability to work in a team. Good English language skills are needed.
The project is conducted in an interdisciplinary approach by a number of renowned scientists form several European countries. It thus also provides the excellent possibility to gain methodological knowledge on ecological investigation techniques in leading institutions throughout Europe.
Anbieter: University of Kaiserslautern
Dept. Biology, Plant Ecology and Systematics
P.O. Box 3049
Ansprechpartner/in: Dr. Bettina Weber
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