PhD studentship in soil ecosystem disturbance

Application start and end date: 
3rd May 2017 to 31st May 2017
Tax-free stipend of NZ$28,000 a year, covers full university fees and includes additional support towards operating expenses.
New Zealand
Contract type: 
Three Years

A PhD studentship is now available to study soil ecosystem disturbance and invasion ecology at the Bio-Protection Research Centre, Lincoln University, New Zealand.


This project will quantify the relative magnitude of disruptions to soil microbial ecosystems and functions resulting from a range of disturbances, including climate change, tillage and fertilisation. The successful candidate will compare the establishment of new organisms in highly disrupted and stable ecosystems. The research will help to identify factors involved in the establishment of beneficial species, such as biological control agents, or detrimental species, such as invasive plant pathogens. The project is part of a wider multidisciplinary programme and the student will be collaborating with a wider team including postdoctoral researchers and scientists to advance the development of novel tools and approaches for sustainable bioprotection in New Zealand’s productive and natural ecosystems.

The PhD student will use molecular approaches to investigate microbial communities and selected microbial species present in the soil, and will apply network and invasion theories to analyse the results. These approaches will include a combination of community level fingerprinting, next-generation sequencing, plant bioassays and molecular tracking of specific microbes of interest.

Qualifications and experience

We are looking for an enthusiastic candidate with experience in soil biology/microbial ecology, molecular ecology and/or invasion biology. Applicants must have (or be predicted to obtain) a first or upper second-class Bachelor degree or a Master’s degree in a related subject. The position is open to applicants of any nationality, provided they fulfil Lincoln University’s English language requirements, can obtain a student visa, and are eligible for admission to the PhD programme.