PhD Candidate: Resilience of Microbial Ecosystem Services in Wetlands

PhD Candidate: Resilience of Microbial Ecosystem Services in Wetlands

Published Deadline Location
15 Mar 22 Apr Nijmegen

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Job description

We are looking for a talented and enthusiastic ecologist with a background in biogeochemistry or aquatic microbial ecology, for a faculty-funded four-year PhD position focusing on the impact of global change on the resistance and resilience of microbial ecosystem services in wetlands. As a PhD candidate you will be appointed at the Department of Aquatic Ecology and Environmental Biology of Radboud University, Nijmegen, the Netherlands (advisors: Dr Annelies Veraart and Prof. Leon Lamers).

About the project
Wetlands not only host a huge biodiversity of plants, animals and micro-organisms, but also provide other important societal services such as clean water and food, and climate regulation. Their ecological functioning is, however, often compromised by external stressors such as climatic change, pollution and eutrophication. These stressors change wetland biogeochemistry by altering the composition and activity of microbial communities, which can lead to severe changes in overall ecosystem functioning. Potentially, such disturbances may even lead to positive climatic feedbacks due to a disturbed balance between the microbial production and consumption of greenhouse gasses.

In this project, you will aim to unravel 1) how crucial microbial ecosystem functions in wetlands such as denitrification and methane oxidation are affected by environmental disturbances, and 2) to which extent the involved microbial communities and their functioning are resistant and resilient to stress. You will address these questions using a range of approaches including laboratory experiments (isotope labelling, gas chromatography / IRMS / qPCR), field measurements (field gas analysis, analysis of water and sediment chemistry, RNA/DNA-sequencing) and field experiments in the Netherlands and abroad.

As a PhD candidate, you will receive excellent training through cutting-edge research and advanced courses and training opportunities, complemented by workshops on generic research, transferable skills and teaching. You will be expected to be committed to conducting independent and original scientific research, to report on this research in international publications and presentations, and to present the results of the research in a PhD dissertation, to be completed within four years.


Radboud University


You hold an MSc degree (or equivalent) with a specialisation in biogeochemistry, microbial ecology, microbiology or a related field, and ideally have experience in molecular biology and the analysis of sequencing data. Statistical proficiency is also essential.

In addition, you should have a good command of spoken and written English, have a passion for science, a demonstrated ability to conduct and report about research, and aa strong motivation to work in the fields of wetland biogeochemistry and microbial ecology.

Conditions of employment

you will be appointed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years
- you will be classified as a PhD Candidate in the Dutch university job-ranking system (UFO)
- a five-year contract will be offered in the case of a 0.8 FTE appointment
the gross starting salary amounts to €2,222 per month, and will increase to €2,840 in the fourth year
The Faculty of Science is an equal opportunity employer, committed to building a culturally diverse intellectual community, and as such encourages applications from women and minorities


Radboud University

Strategically located in Europe, Radboud University is one of the leading academic communities in the Netherlands. A place with a personal touch, where top-flight education and research take place on a beautiful green campus in modern buildings with state-of-art facilities.


Faculty of Science

Water has been identified as the major environmental issue of the 21st century. Weather extremes increase incidences of drought and flooding, while poor water quality is a threat to human society as well as to natural ecosystems. Environmental changes have resulted in stress responses of all living biota and impose major challenges to individuals, populations and the ecosystem as a whole. With a focus on aquatic ecosystems and wetlands, the research conducted by the IWWR tackles these problems in an original way. The IWWR studies the mechanisms of adaptation to these changes of micro-organisms, plants and animals at the level of the molecule, the cell, the organism and the ecosystem. The fact that its fundamental scientific research is closely linked to applications distinguishes the IWWR from other national and international institutes on water research. Novel applications for current water problems are being developed on the basis of innovative fundamental insights into molecular, physiological and ecological processes.

The research at the IWWR is carried out by complementary and closely interacting research groups, which study the mechanisms of adaptation to stress of cells, organisms and ecosystems. The Department of Aquatic Ecology and Environmental Biology serves as an integral department that anchors the core mission of the IWWR, integrating the research efforts of the other departments, including Microbiology, into the institute’s research programme. The department’s research focuses on key ecological drivers and processes that explain the functioning of wetlands and their ecosystem services.

No commercial propositions please. ; ;


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • 30.4—38 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • 62.28.18



Comeniuslaan 4, 6525 HP, Nijmegen

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