2 October 2023
Be a part of two complimentary projects that explore the realms of soil microbial ecology and invertebrate conservation biological control. One project is centralised around arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and the second project explores the biodiversity and abundance of spiders in kiwi fruit orchards.
Healthy plant-soil ecosystems underpin Aotearoa’s land-based economies and are increasingly vulnerable to disruption by land-use change, pest invasion, and climate change. These projects are hugely important in boosting the resilience of both agricultural and native ecosystems to these stresses. There is the chance to become part of a vibrant and supportive research group, committed to improving the health of our whenua, through becoming a Summer Scholar at Bioprotection Aotearoa. Here, this scholarship ensures the student will gain skills in microbial ecology, plant pathology, and invertebrate science by working in the field, greenhouse, and laboratories.
We have an amazing opportunity for a summer scholar to join us to work on two complementary projects under Pou Nuku-a-rangi, where the realms of soil microbial ecology and invertebrate conservation biological control will be explored. One project is centred around arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) which are microbes that colonise the roots of terrestrial plants and form “little trees” inside root cells, they extend microscopic fungal threads called mycelium out into the soil. This symbiotic relationship with plant roots makes them a key component of resilient ecosystems. The second project furthers research into the biodiversity and abundance of spiders in kiwi fruit orchards. Spiders are generalist predators of insect pests, providing an ecosystem service of pest control complimentary to low-residue food production system.
The summer scholar will be supervised by two of our PhD students, whom they will assist with firstly conducting an 8-week experiment to see how changing land use and climate affect AMF and what this means for the resilience of plants. An all costs covered field trip to the East Cape of the North Island in January to our Te Kaha community, forms a special part to this summer adventure. It is here that the investigation into invertebrate conservation will begin. With the remainder of your summer, back in Lincoln you will help to set up laboratory bioassays with spiders and their prey.
Throughout the summer the scholar will be supported by early career researchers and staff at Lincoln University and benefit from joining a network of scientists across Aotearoa. This scholarship offers a fantastic opportunity for students thinking of entering the field of bioprotection.
Opportunities for learning
The main base of the project is at Lincoln University. The selected scholar will learn the ins and outs of a large-scale pot experiment using walk-in plant growth chambers, a specialised environment for controlled studies. This will include developing plant husbandry skills and learning to use technical equipment to monitor chlorophyll levels and photosynthesis rates. During the field trip there is a great chance to practice sampling skills which are an essential part of many ecological research projects. In addition to the skills that will be obtained from soil microbial ecology research, the scholar will have the opportunity to learn various invertebrate field sampling techniques such as pitfall traps, sweep netting, and active searching. Back at Lincoln, the scholar will gain invertebrate science techniques and learn behavioural ecology skills by helping to set up laboratory bioassays with spiders and their prey.
A total of $6000 tax free is available for each scholarship. Fortnightly payments will be made for the duration of the scholarship, with the final payment of $1000 on receipt of the approved student project report.
Please download and complete the BA Summer scholar student application form 2023 (Word doc). Send your completed application form, along with a CV and a Cover Letter detailing why you feel you would be suitable for this position.
Along with your CV and cover Letter, send your completed application form to Elena Johnson [email protected] before the closing date Sunday 15th October, 2023
|Supervisor(s):||Nicola Sullivan and Fionnuala Bulman|
|Other staff||Prof Eirian Jones, Dr Cor Vink, Prof Amanda Black|
|Project:||Project 3.1 How can we create healthy, disease-resistant and climate-resilient soils?|
|Application Form:||Download and complete the BA Summer scholar student application form 2023 (Word doc)|
|Apply to:||Along with your CV and cover letter, send your completed application form to Elena Johnson [email protected]|
|Applications close:||Sunday 15th October, 2023|