Lund University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biology

Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top 100 universities. The University has 40 000 students and more than 8 000 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.

The Faculty of Science conducts research and education within Biology, Astronomy, Physics, Geosciences, Chemistry, Mathematics and Environmental Sciences. The Faculty is organized into nine departments, gathered in the northern campus area. The Faculty has approximately 1500 students, 330 PhD students and 700 employees.

Project Qualifications

The microbial control of rhizosphere biogeochemistry

Soils are a globally important store of terrestrial carbon (C), with soil microorganisms playing a decisive role in regulating soil C storage through the decomposition of plant residues and soil organic matter. lnputs of plant-derived C in the rhizosphere create hotspots of microbial activity and dynamic biogeochemistry. The microbial allocation of C to growth relative to C loss to the atmosphere via respiration (i.e. the microbial C use efficiency; CUE) will be important in determining the future C sequestration potential of soils. ln this project, we will consider how aboveground-belowground plant-soil interactions determine soil biogeochemistry. Specifically, we shall examine how differences in resource quality and the availability of limiting nutrients influence microbial growth and respiration in the rhizosphere, and the consequences for microbial CUE.

Job description

ln this laboratory-intensive project, we will assess limiting factors for microbial growth, respiration and the decomposition of organic matter by drawing on long-term field experiments and natural fertility gradients, in combination with experimental greenhouse and microcosm systems using both artificial roots to simulate plant C-input along with planted microcosm systems. We shall compare limiting factors for microbial growth in the rhizosphere and in bulk soil, over both diurnal and seasonal cycles, and in systems with and without mycorrhiza, thus varying the competitive environment of the decomposer microbial community. To do so, we will employ state-of-the-art radio-isotope and stable-isotope probing based methods, enabling determination of microbial C allocation between growth and respiration, elucidating the plant-soil interactions via the exchange of C and nutrients. Through this project we will advance the understanding of the microbial regulation of the rhizosphere biogeochemistry, and provide critical data to inform global C models.


Candidates should have an advanced university degree (M.Sc. or equivalent experience /
competence) in biology, biogeochemistry, environmental science, or equivalent fields, preferably with a focus on microbial ecology. Proficiency in English is a requirement. Documented experience with research (e.g. master thesis or equivalent), and with laboratory methods relevant to the project are important merits.

Students with basic eligibility for third-cycle studies are those who- have completed a second-cycle degree- have completed courses of at least 240 credits, of which at least 60 credits are from second-cycle courses, or- have acquired largely equivalent knowledge in some other way, in Sweden or abroad.

The employment of doctoral students is regulated in the Swedish Code of Statues 1998: 80. Only those who are or have been admitted to PhD-studies may be appointed to doctoral studentships. When an appointment to a doctoral studentship is made, the ability of the student to benefit from PhD-studies shall primarily be taken into account. In addition to devoting themselves to their studies, those appointed to doctoral studentships may be required to work with educational tasks, research and administration, in accordance with specific regulations in the ordinance.

Type of employment
Limit of tenure, four years according to HF 5 kap 7§.

The application should include a letter that includes the motivation for PhD studies, and a description of previous education and research interests (max 2 pages). lt should further include a curriculum vitae (CV), copies of degrees and transcripts of academic records, and contact information (phone, email) for at least two personal references. Relevant publications can also be enclosed, including accepted academic papers and research theses (e.g. master thesis).

Type of employment Temporary position longer than 6 months
First day of employment Negotiable
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Working hours 100
City Lund
County Skåne län
Country Sweden
Reference number PA2018/3564
  • Johannes Rousk, universitetslektor,; +46 46 222 37 45
  • Elin Johansson, personaladministratör,; +46 46 222 79 21
Union representative
  • OFR/ST:Fackförbundet ST:s kansli, 046-222 93 62
  • SACO:Saco-s-rådet vid Lunds universitet, 046-222 93 64
  • SEKO: Seko Civil, 046-222 93 66
Published 05.Nov.2018
Last application date 07.Jan.2019 11:59 PM CET

Return to job vacancies