WP 6.1 - Postdoc

Nitrogen cycling in soil and its implication in plant nutrition

Duration of contract: 2.5-3 years 
Planned starting date: Summer 2024 
Place of work: University of Vienna

Main supervisor: Dagmar Wöbken (CV | Lab Homepage
Supervision team: Petra Pjevac, Wolfgang Wanek


Project description:

Microbial nitrogen (N) cycling in soil strongly impacts plant nutrition – mineralization of organic biomass can provide plants with N sources, while other microbial activities such as nitrification and denitrification reduce plant-available N. Microbially-mediated inorganic N transformations have been extensively studied, but knowledge on the controls of organic N cycling and of microbial inorganic fertilizer assimilation in soil remains scarce. Further, soil organic N mineralization may be strongly dependent on the soil habitat, e.g. root exudates were shown to increase degradation of soil organic matter in the rhizosphere. Considering the potential role of soil microorganisms to intermittently immobilize fertilizer N and then regenerate plant-available inorganic N compounds, modulation of soil- and plant-associated microbiomes represents a promising approach to improve plant N nutrition.

In this project, we will investigate rhizosphere microbial communities that are involved in N cycling with the goal to identify microbial consortia that improve N nutrition in agriculturally-relevant plants. While working together with other members of the work package, this postdoctoral position will focus on identifying microorganisms involved in organic and inorganic N cycling by combining 15N tracer studies with the identification of involved microorganisms using -omics techniques. This will be joined with cultivation and functional characterization of consortia members.

The ideal candidate has a background in soil microbial ecology, is interested in microbial nutrient cycling in soils and has a comprehensive understanding of microbial physiology. Experience in generating and interpreting metagenomic or metatranscriptomic data is a plus.



Projects and work packages

How to apply

Supervisor CV (346.82 KB)