How silicon affects phosphate availability and carbon turnover in soils

PhD student (65% salary TVöD E13) for 3 years

The position is part of a DFG funded project "How silicon affects phosphate availability and carbon turnover in soils" starting as soon as possible and entails 65% of the fulltime weekly hours. We offer a contract for 36 months. The period of employment is governed by § 2 Fixed Term Research Contract Act (WissZeitVG). The position offers the chance to obtain further academic qualification (i.e. PhD).

Recent research suggested the influence of silicon on phosphorus mobilization and soil respiration. The focus of our project is to unravel the underlying mechanisms on how silicon is interfering with phosphorus binding and carbon turnover in soils. Understanding how Si interferes with P availability is a potential tool to reduce the agricultural need for P fertilizer for optimal plant P supply.

We are looking for a highly motivated PhD student with a master university degree (or equivalent) in earth or natural sciences (e.g., Soil Sciences, Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences) and strong knowledge in biogeochemistry. Experiences in lab work are required. Excellent knowledge of spoken and written English and excellent communication skills are expected. We offer an inspiring international and interdisciplinary. There will be the opportunity for an internship abroad. State-of-the-art analytical tools are available in the laboratories of the University of Bayreuth and TU Dresden. The expected start of this project is between November 2019 and January 2020.

The project is a cooperation of the Environmental Geochemistry group (University Bayreuth, Dr. J. Schaller), the group of Experimental Biogeochemistry (University Bayreuth, Prof. M. Obst) and the Institute of Soil Science and Site Ecology (TU Dresden, Prof. K. Kalbitz). The PhD candidate will analyze the effect of silicon availability on phosphorus mobilization from different soil minerals. Furthermore, the PhD candidate will determine the effect of silicon availability on soil respiration along soil gradients. The tasks of the PhD candidate are to analyze the phosphorus binding to different soil minerals in batch experiments and by XAS (Canadian Light Source) and XPS in collaboration with experienced partners, determine the mobilization of phosphorus and dissolved organic carbon from soil minerals by increasing silicon availability, and finally measure the changes in greenhouse gas production of soils along a soil phosphorus gradient after changing silicon availability.

The PhD candidate will work in the laboratories of Institute of Soil Science and Site Ecology (TU Dresden, Tharandt). For further information please contact Dr. Jörg Schaller by e-mail. Applications from women are particularly welcome. The same applies to people with disabilities.

Please submit your application by 31th of August 2019 by e-mail as a single pdf document including CV, motivation letter, a summary of your master thesis (if already completed) and the names (affiliation, telephone, e-mail) of two references to

posted: 08 July 2019     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.