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PhD candidate-Application of molecular techniques to determine the functional diversity of organisms regulating carbon-nitrogen dynamics, New Zealand

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Application of molecular techniques to determine the functional diversity of organisms regulating carbon/nitrogen dynamics, leaching and gaseous nitrogen losses in grazed grassland

We seek a PhD candidate to join a 3-year research program based at Landcare Research and the University of Canterbury (UC) to investigate the coupling of soil C and N cycling in grazed agricultural systems. The research is supported by funding from the New Zealand Government. The research team headed by Professors Matthew Turnbull (UC) and David Whitehead and Dr Gwen Grelet (Landcare Research).


The person
We seek a PhD candidate with a demonstrated a high level of academic achievement at the undergraduate and postgraduate level. They will be required to have a B.Sc. (Hons) or equivalent to enrol as a PhD candidate at the University of Canterbury.


The candidate will require a background in plant physiology and/or soil science. Some background in biochemistry/molecular biology and/or genomics/bioinformatics would be an advantage. The PhD candidate will be required to undertake both fieldwork and lab-based investigations in the course of their research.


The stipend will be for three years at NZD21,000 p.a. (tax free) plus payment of tuition fees and associated services charges and insurance (approx. $9,000 p.a.). The candidate will also have the opportunity to present their work at an international conference in the latter half of their project.


The project

The aim of the research is to develop more effective ways for farmers to reduce nitrogen leaching to groundwater and nitrous oxide emissions by investigating links between soil carbon inputs and nitrogen losses. Reducing nitrogen losses is a key challenge for landowners and there is urgent need to provide solutions for shallow, stony soils in eastern areas where irrigation is enabling widespread conversion to intensive pastoral farming. The PhD project will contribute to a collaborative approach to manipulate soil carbon inputs from root exudates, change the composition of animal urine and use irrigation to reduce losses by stimulating nitrogen immobilisation and inhibiting nitrous oxide emissions.

 
The topic for the PhD will be selected to contribute a specific research project towards solutions for three key issues: (i) application of molecular techniques to determine the functional diversity of organisms regulating carbon and nitrogen dynamics, (ii) coupling functional diversity to the poorly understood biological drivers of both leaching and gaseous nitrogen losses, and (iii) manipulating carbon inputs experimentally to demonstrate the impacts on soil biological activity leading to reduced nitrogen losses. This new knowledge will inform nutrient budgeting models and lead to new management practices to reduce farm nitrogen losses.


The proposed start date for the research is in the second half of 2016, depending on the availability of appropriate candidates.

 
Please visit following link for more information:

Applications + Contact

For more information please contact:

Prof. Matthew Turnbull
School of Biological Sciences
University of Canterbury
Christchurch
New Zealand
Tel +64 3 364 2987 (Ext  7040)
Fax +64 3 364 2590
Email:
matthew.turnbull@canterbury.ac.nz

Applications must be made on the UC Connect Doctoral Scholarship application form and submitted to the UC Scholarships Office by June 30, 2016. We expect to skype-interview a short-list of potential candidates in July.

Further Information

Application Deadline : 30 June 2016

PhD candidate-Application of molecular techniques to determine the functional diversity of organisms regulating carbon-nitrogen dynamics : PDF

Contact Email: matthew.turnbull@canterbury.ac.nz

Posted on 2016-05-05 22:23:29


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