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January 16, 2017

Quantifying the function of mycorrhizal associations under altered resource availability

Quantifying the function of mycorrhizal associations under altered resource availability 400 x 400 px

Why is this research exciting? The relationship between plants and mycorrhizal fungi is central to the maintenance of plant growth and ecosystem productivity worldwide.

Mycorrhizal fungi also play an important role in ecosystem carbon dynamics, but the contributions of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and ectomycorrhizal fungi to soil carbon storage can differ substantially. Recent evidence suggests that the plant-mycorrhizal relationship can switch from being mutually beneficial to semi-parasitic, depending on soil nutrient availability, which in turn could influence ecosystem function and soil carbon storage.

This project uses state-of-the art ecological, molecular, and biogeochemical techniques to quantify the contribution of different mycorrhizal fungi to soil carbon sequestration and evaluate the influence of nutrient availability on the plant-mycorrhizal association.

What’s in it for you? You will join a friendly, supportive research team to conduct cutting-edge research at the interface of soil science, plant ecology, and biogeochemistry. You will receive expert training in a variety of critical research skills and complete a training internship in molecular approaches and bioinformatics to advance a novel and important area of ecosystem science.

You will also have opportunities to learn how to present your research to different audiences and participate in public engagement programmes. Who should apply? We seek a motivated student who is fascinated by the natural world and keen to work with like-minded researchers in different institutions to answer fundamental questions about ecosystem function.

The successful applicant will hold a minimum of a UK Honours Degree at 2:1 level or equivalent in a related subject. Fieldwork- and research experience are highly desirable. A strong work ethic, willingness to learn new techniques and participation in training programmes are essential.

For further details and pre-application enquiries, please contact Dr Emma Sayer e.sayer@lancaster.ac.uk