PhD Project in Geomicrobiology/Biogeochemistry

Workscope: Research Associate

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PhD Project in Geomicrobiology/Biogeochemistry

The research group for Geomicrobiology at the Institute for Geosciences at the University of Tübingen is looking for a PhD student (Geochemist, Geoecologist, Environmental Microbiologist) who will work on:

‘Microbial oxidation of Fe(II)-natural organic material complexes‘

Iron-oxidizing bacteria can use O2, nitrate or light energy to catalyze Fe(II) oxidation and are potentially actively oxidizing Fe in surface sediments in close proximity. These bacteria can utilize free, aqueous, Fe(II), solid phase Fe(II), as well as Fe(II) complexed by EDTA. However, it is currently unknown if they can also oxidize Fe(II)-natural organic material (NOM) complexes and which role the different groups of Fe(II)-oxidizing bacteria play in terms of element sequestration by the Fe(III)-NOM-aggregates that are formed as a consequence of microbial Fe(II) oxidation.
This PhD project will determine whether microaerophilic, nitrate-reducing and phototrophic Fe(II)-oxidizing microorganisms can oxidize Fe(II) that is present in the form of Fe(II)-NOM complexes or Fe(II)-complexes with organic ligands. Furthermore, the reactivity of the formed Fe-NOM aggregates will be determined with respect to their metal binding capacity and susceptibility towards microbial reduction. This interdisciplinary project includes field work and laboratory experiments ranging from cultivation of microbes, synthesis of Fe(II) complexes, chemical analysis of aqueous and solid phases and state of the art spectroscopic techniques such as synchrotron-based X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy. The project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

We are offering a PhD position in an interdisciplinary, international, young and dynamic team of chemists, molecular ecologists, microbiologists, geochemists and geoscientists. This position provides an opportunity for the candidate to be creative and innovative, and to work on a challenging topic that combines various fields within environmental sciences. Ideal candidates should have a solid background in analytical chemistry, environmental microbiology and biogeochemistry. Applicants must have the ability to work independent and in a team, have excellent management and communication skills and should be highly motivated and committed to pursuing interdisciplinary research. Good computer and language skills (English) are necessary. The candidate will have the opportunity to present his/her results in international journals and conferences.

The starting date is October 1th 2015 or as soon as possible thereafter. The employment (TVL E13, 50%, 3 years) will be arranged by the administration of the University of Tübingen. Disabled persons will be preferred in case of equal qualification.

Applications including CV, motivation letter, overview of techniques and methods used in the past should be send by email before July 15th 2015 to:

Prof. Dr. Andreas Kappler, Geomicrobiology group, Center for Applied Geosciences, University of Tübingen Sigwartstrasse 10, D-72076 Tübingen, Germany, Phone: ++49-7071-2974992

More information including recent publications can be found on our website:
How to apply:
applications should be send by email

Contact detail

How to apply:
Send application to
Prof. Dr. Andreas Kappler
Geomicrobiology group
Center for Applied Geosciences
University of Tübingen
Sigwartstrasse 10
D-72076 Tübingen

Germany, Phone: ++49-7071-2974992

Job profile

Working hours
Contract duration
Type of job
PhD Project
Work experience
job experience is not required
Germany (Baden-Württemberg)
Working place
72074 Tübingen
Area of expertise
Geo Sciences, Biology & Life Sciences, Chemistry

About Institut für Geowissenschaften

The Center of Applied Geosciences (ZAG) is one of the largest universitzy research centers in Europe focusing on applied environmental research in the subsurface. For more technical information see

More about Institut für Geowissenschaften

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