20 July 2021

Lincoln University is offering a Soil Microbial Ecology PhD Scholarship funded by a New Zealand Tertiary Education Commission grant to Bioprotection Aotearoa.  This research project will contribute to understanding the processes involved in the creation of healthy, disease and climate resilient soils.  This will investigate approaches to shift ecosystems towards more disturbance-tolerant states, and considers the connections between soils, vegetation, and human communities.

To characterise the importance and extent of the role of connection/relationship between plants and the way they are managed with the soil resistance.  This project will quantify the importance of common practices such as continuous cover, species diversity and intercropping, and organic matter retention on biological status of soil ecosystems and their subsequent ability to respond to both biotic and abiotic disturbances (i.e. disease and climate).  Parallel to this, it will test the importance of specific disturbance events – e.g. fire and summer fallow – on maintaining soil biodiversity (particularly conditionally rare taxa that may need these events) and providing periods of reset that enable transition towards new states.  Are these periods of heightened ecological vulnerability, or opportunities for strategic reset and recovery of ecosystems?

The outcomes of this research are aimed at providing knowledge enabling informed and data-driven decision making for use in the primary sector (farm, horticulture, or forestry).

The position is open to candidates with Honours and/or Masters Degrees in a relevant discipline with qualifications and experience in microbiology, molecular biology, and soil science.

To apply email [email protected].

Prior to undertaking this scholarship, successful applicants will have to meet the entry requirements to undertake PhDs at Lincoln University which can be found here (https://www.lincoln.ac.nz/Study/Postgraduate/entry-requirements/?sti=4) and have received a conditional offer of admission. Successful applicants will need to be onshore in New Zealand prior to the nominated start date of the scholarship.