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Impacts of climate change on growth of non-vascular vegetation

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Saturday, November 30, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Lichens, mosses and terrestrial algae / cyanobacteria (non-vascular vegetation) carry out important functions in various ecosystems around the world. They increase carbon sequestration, provide nutrients to other organisms, and regulate soil temperature and stability. However, due to negative impacts of climate change, such as extreme weather events, the organisms may not be able anymore to maintain their ecosystem services. Although higher CO2 concentrations in the future may allow for increased growth, it is largely unclear if this potential can be realized. A key question is thereby, if the limiting supply of nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus) will prevent an increased growth of the organisms.

The project will examine the following:

(1) How do growth rates of lichens and mosses depend on their nutrient requirements? To assess this, laboratory measurements will be combined with numerical modeling of growth.
(2) Which nutrients limit growth of the organisms in multiple ecosystems around the world?
(3) Which influence will nutrient limitation have on the future global distribution of lichens and mosses under climate change? To this end, an innovative global vegetation model will be applied.

This fully-funded PhD position offers opportunities for training both in plant physiological experimental work and also global vegetation modeling. This includes transferable skills, such as programming and laboratory work in biology. The high relevance of research on climate change impacts on vegetation and the novelty of the topic will allow for high impact publications. Further information can be found under the above web link.

The required skills for the position are: A university degree in a relevant field, very good written and spoken English skills, and interest in numeric simulation models of biological processes. Experience with Unix/Linux is an asset.

Please send applications, including a cover letter, a tabular curriculum vitae, and copies of degree certificate(s), to

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