PhD in Arctic Plant-Soil Metagenomics

Updated: about 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 06 Nov 2021

PhD in Arctic Plant-Soil Metagenomics

Climate warming is transforming the Arctic at an unprecedented rate. Previously barren landscapes are “greening” as a result of longer snow-free periods and increases in plant growth. Although the Arctic is warming almost everywhere, patterns of Arctic greening and changes in the Arctic biosphere are highly diverse. As Arctic landscapes continue to change, we need to understand the biological and physical-chemical feedbacks associated with the Arctic’s transition into this novel state. 

Project background

We are looking for a highly motivated PhD candidate to study plant-microbe interactions in the High-Arctic Svalbard Archipelago and northern Norway to determine the underlying interactions between plants, soils and microbial communities across geoclimatic gradients. The project is led by a consortium of researchers from ETH, WSL and NINA. More information can be found here .

Job description

Prof. Dr. Cara Magnabosco will be your primary supersvisor and your main responsibilities will be to assess microbial responses to warming across plant-soil systems and feedbacks to plant performance and biomass productivity. This includes the following tasks:

  • Characterise microbial community composition and evolution across geochemical gradients 
  • Assess determinants of plant C input to soils at different developmental stages
  • Quantify effects of soil biota on plant performance under warming
  • Determine microbial responses to warming across plant-microbial-soil systems

  • Your profile

    This position will require a several weeks of field work in the Arctic, controlled climate chamber experiments to disentangle the contribution of soil biota from effects of soil physicochemical properties on plant performance and metagenomic data analysis. Applicants are expected to have:

    • Background in computational biology and/or ecology
    • Understanding of soil property effects on biological processes (asset)
    • Laboratory experience
    • Ability to conduct large plant-microbial-soil system growth experiments
    • Ability to independently conduct statistical data analysis 
    • Fluent in English (oral and writing) and excellent communication skills 

    ETH Zurich

    ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.


    We look forward to receiving your online application with the following documents:

    • CV (including names of academic references)
    • Bachelors and Masters degree transcript

    Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

    Further information about the Geobiology group can be found on our website . Questions regarding the position should be directed to the primary supervisor Prof. Cara Magnabosco, (no applications).

    Applications will be reviewed from 25 October onwards until the position is filled.

    In line with our values, ETH Zurich encourages an inclusive culture. We promote equality of opportunity, value diversity and nurture a working and learning environment in which the rights and dignity of all our staff and students are respected. Visit our Equal Opportunities and Diversity website to find out how we ensure a fair and open environment that allows everyone to grow and flourish.

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