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Digging deep: biological mechanisms of organic carbon sequestration and storage in soil

Project Description

Loss of soil organic carbon (SOC) is one of the most pressing challenges of the 21st Century, contributing to climate change, reducing soil fertility and capability for growing crops, reducing water holding capacity and increasing erosion which increases flood risk. An essential part of tackling the ongoing climate crisis and associated global challenges is to halt and reverse the loss of SOC.

Plants are crucial in the movement and storage of SOC, however new evidence suggests soil microorganisms contribute up to 80% of stored SOC. Plant-C metabolism by soil microorganisms is one of the main routes to C capture, but the physiological mechanisms and role of interactions with minerals and aggregates underpinning this remain unknown.

This exciting project will contribute towards international initiatives to reverse global SOC losses by investigating metabolism of organic-C by microbes and fungi, and interactions with soil minerals to unpick the biological mechanisms underpinning soil carbon sequestration and storage.

The successful student will undertake novel field and laboratory work using the latest ‘omics technologies, isotope tracing and complementary geochemical tools. In doing so, the student will build key skills while also pushing the boundaries of science to understand the role of soil organisms in carbon capture.

Funding Notes

White Rose BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership in Mechanistic Biology
4 year fully-funded programme of integrated research and skills training, starting Oct 2020:
• Research Council Stipend
• UK/EU Tuition Fees
• Conference and research funding

At least a 2:1 honours degree or equivalent. We welcome students with backgrounds in biological, chemical or physical sciences, or mathematical backgrounds with an interest in biological questions.

EU candidates require 3 years of UK residency to receive full studentship

Not all projects will be funded; the DTP will appoint a limited number of candidates via a competitive process.

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How good is research at University of Leeds in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 60.90

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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