Applicants are invited for a PhD fellowship/scholarship at Graduate School of Technical Sciences, Aarhus University, Denmark, within the Environmental Science programme. The position is available from 1 April 2023 or later.

Fluxes and flows of microbial biomass and carbon through surface glacial habitats

Research area and project description:
This is an exciting opportunity to be part of an European Doctoral Network (ICEBIO*), consisting of 11 PhD studentships (3 of which will be hosted by the Department of Environmental Science) to investigate glacier microbiology and biogeochemistry.

In this particular PhD studentship, you will investigate microbial and carbon fluxes on a range of surface habitats on glaciers and the Greenland ice sheet. The cycling of carbon in supraglacial environments is controlled by microbial metabolism, specifically CO2 fixation by autotrophic snow and ice algae, and their associated heterotrophic and mixotrophic bacteria and fungi community. In this project, you will apply different approaches that include novel use of 13C tracing in metabolomics, flow cytometry, and estimation of mortality rates. The latter is currently the main unknown variable in the estimation of carbon fluxes in the glacier biome.

Glaciers and ice sheets were long believed to be sterile environments, but just like other large ecosystems (e.g., tropical forests, tundra), they are now widely recognized as one of the Earth’s biomes, teeming with life. Active algae, fungi, bacteria and viruses dominate the glacial environment and they have the ability to change the physical and chemical characteristics of the ice and snow, with global effects. 

Despite their global influence, many of the microbiological processes within the cryosphere remain poorly quantified. A deeper understanding of such processes are relevant to researchers interested in the possibility of life on icy extraterrestrial bodies, the survival and proliferation of life forms on our early Earth, and the positive and negative feedbacks that the cryosphere may have on global warming.

*The ICEBIO consortium comprises 5 leading research teams across Europe (Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Austria and Switzerland) and two industrial stakeholders (Germany and France). ICEBIO’s mission is to train 11 doctoral researchers in glacier microbiology and biogeochemistry.

Project description (½-4 pages). This document should describe your ideas and research plans for this specific project. If you wish to, you can indicate an URL where further information can be found.

Qualifications and specific competences:
Applicants must have a relevant Master’s degree (120 ECTS) in one of those areas: Biology, Microbial Ecology, Microbiology, Environmental Sciences.

Recruited researchers can be of any nationality. Because funding is provided by a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Doctoral EU Programme, recruited researchers must comply with the following mobility rule: they must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the recruiting beneficiary for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before their recruitment date. Candidates CANNOT have been awarded a doctoral degree yet in any field.

Place of employment and place of work:
The place of employment is Aarhus University, and the place of work is Frederiksborgvej 399, DK-4000, Roskilde, Denmark.

Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact Professor Alexandre Magno Anesio,

How to apply:
Please follow this link to submit your application. Application deadline is 10 January 2023 23:59 CET. Preferred starting date is 1 April 2023.

Please note:

  • The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.
  • Shortlisting will be used, which means that the evaluation committee only will evaluate the most relevant applications.

Aarhus University’s ambition is to be an attractive and inspiring workplace for all and to foster a culture in which each individual has opportunities to thrive, achieve and develop. We view equality and diversity as assets, and we welcome all applicants. All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background. Salary and terms of employment are in accordance with applicable collective agreement.   

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