Deadline: 2015-08-31

Postdoc and PhD Positions in Soil Microbial Ecology

Soils are considered the last scientific frontiers that harbor one of the most diverse microbial communities on Earth. It is hypothesized that this diversity allows for redundancy in microbial key processes, thereby ensuring ecosystem stability. Much of this functional redundancy is embodied in non-active, dormant microorganisms that represent the ‘microbial seed bank. It is hypothesized that dormant microorganisms can be recruited to participate in a given function upon resuscitation with environmental cues. In this project we will test this hypothesis on a level that matters for ecosystem processes the functional level by combining stable isotope probing (SIP) and sequencing with process-level and single-cell activity analysis (the latter through NanoSIMS measurements). The goals of this project are: (1) To reveal environmental cues that resuscitate dormant microorganisms involved in major soil functions and identify the activated microorganisms. (2) To investigate the genetics of microbial dormancy-resuscitation strategies in a natural model environment for dormancy, an arid ecosystem, by metatranscriptome analysis of critical dormancy-resuscitation steps. (3) To retrieve genomic information of primarily dormant, but after resuscitation active, microorganisms involved in important soil processes, as they presumably contain so far unknown genomic potential. With this we will generate essential knowledge on the stability of microbial key processes and on the diversity, the function and the genetics of the dormant majority in terrestrial ecosystems.
Required qualifications: We are looking for highly motivated and independently working candidates with interest in collaborative & fundamental microbial ecology research. Applicants should have a background in microbial physiology, environmental microbiology or soil microbial ecology. Experience in one or more of the following areas/techniques will be of advantage: profiling of microbial communities (16S rRNA and functional gene sequence analysis), metagenomics/metatranscriptomics, NextGen sequencing, bioinformatics, stable isotope probing (SIP), application of biogeochemical techniques, isotope analytics, single-cell genomics and cultivation of microorganisms from environmental samples. Good communication skills in English (written and spoken) and the ability to work in a team are essential.
Conditions of appointment: We offer up to 3 years of appointment according to the salary scheme of the University of Vienna. The University of Vienna is an equal opportunity employer.
Application details: Applicants should submit a letter of motivation, a detailed CV (including a brief description of research interests; previous employments, and publication list if applicable), reprints of your two most important published articles (Postdocs only) and 2 reference letters. These documents should be sent as pdf files to Dagmar Woebken via the email address dormancy(at)
Start date is Fall 2015. Evaluation of applicants will start in July 2015 and will continue until the position is filled.

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