Fully funded, 3-year PhD position in soil organic Carbon dynamics – Charles University in Prague

The PhD study will be conducted at the Institute for Environmental Studies, Faculty of Sciences at the Charles University in Prague, practical work and research conducted during the PhD studies will be realized in close cooperation with the SoWa Research Infrastructure, a newly established part of the Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences.

Background

Recent estimates propose that only a small increase in global soil Carbon (C) sequestration may mitigate recent rises in atmospheric CO2. However, there remains a gap of knowledge in the formation mechanisms and chemical composition of stable, mineral-protected soil organic matter (SOM), whose understanding is crucial for effective C sequestration as well as for better conceptualization of global C models.
The project aims to close these knowledge gaps and determine the predominant C sources and controls on mineral-protected SOM formation. The successful applicant will conduct field experiments in a common garden and laboratory incubations of soil with isotopically labeled plant tissue. Samples from the experiments will be investigated for their chemical and microbial composition combining physical fractionation, chemical extraction, DNA sequencing, and gas-chromatography based methods. 
The project ultimately aims at improving recent conceptualizations on soil C dynamics, which may advance our options for C sequestration and thus climate change mitigation.

Requirements

The applicant should hold an M.Sc. degree in Soil Science, Organic Geochemistry, or related fields and must be highly motivated to learn and employ new methods and work independently in the field and laboratory. Proficiency in English is essential. Previous knowledge on soil organic matter dynamics and methods (e.g., soil fractionation, GC-based methods) is desirable but not a prerequisite.

Applicants should send a CV (no more than 2 pages), a statement of interest/motivation for the position, and the contact details of at least 2 professional references via e-mail to: gerrit.angst@bc.cas.cz.

Evaluation of applications will start immediately until the position is filled (latest 31.3.2019).
Earliest starting date will be May 2019.

Contact

Dr. Gerrit Angst
Soil & Water Research Infrastructure and Institute of Soil Biology
Biology Centre CAS
Na Sádkách 7, 370 05 České Budějovice
Czech Republic
E-mail: gerrit.angst@bc.cas.cz.

About the institution and location
The PhD study will be conducted at the Institute for Environmental Studies, Faculty of Sciences at the Charles University in Prague, which is with 17 faculties and more than 50 thousand students, the biggest and oldest university in the Czech Republic (est. 1348). Practical work and research conducted during the PhD studies will be realized in close cooperation with the SoWa Research Infrastructure, a newly established part of the Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences, whose research predominantly addresses ecological topics. The SoWa research involves collaboration across disciplines, the use of diverse methodological approaches, and a combination of analytical and holistic approaches to problem solving. While conducting the major part of his/her PhD work at the SoWa Research Infrastructure, the successful applicant will join a vibrant team of young Scientists and Technical Assistants, working on soil organic matter dynamics in post-mining and forest soils. The SoWa labs are located in a modern facility at the edge of České Budějovice, which is a medium-sized town ca. 150 km south of Prague with 100,000 inhabitants, a relaxed atmosphere, and a growing community of foreign scientists at the University and the Biology Centre. Three faculties and five research institutes dealing with aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems are located on the same campus, allowing easy access to other researchers and resources. Both the town and the surrounding countryside provide numerous opportunities for research and leisure activities. Living costs are low by international standards. Courses of the Czech language are offered for international staff to reach a basic level of proficiency in everyday situations.