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PhD Project in Geomicrobiology/Molecular Ecology

PhD Project in Geomicrobiology/Molecular Ecology

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

‘Identification of active microaerophilic, nitrate-reducing and phototrophic
iron(II)-oxidizing bacteria in freshwater and marine sediments

 Iron-oxidizing bacteria can use O2, nitrate or light energy to catalyze Fe(II) oxidation and are potentially actively oxidizing iron in surface sediments in close proximity. However, it is currently largely unknown which iron-oxidizers are active in the environment under certain environmental conditions and how these different physiological groups interact and compete with each other in freshwater and marine sediments.

This PhD project will directly identify active members of the three physiological groups of iron-oxidizing bacteria in marine sediments from Aarhus Bay (Denmark) and freshwater sediments from Lake Constanze. Approaches will include field work and laboratory experiments. In particular, stable-isotope probing and/or NanoSIMS experiments with marine and freshwater sediments will be carried out using 13C-labeled compounds (e.g. 13C-bicarbonate). A suite of biogeochemical and molecular tools will be applied to track the 13C-carbon flow in environmental samples and to link the metabolic ability of iron oxidation to distinct microbial community members. Laboratory experiments include the establishment of stable-isotope probing techniques and the development and application of molecular assays to determine the spatial distribution and activity of these microorganisms in the environment (including FISH and/or qPCR). The project is funded by the European Research Council (ERC).

We are offering a PhD position in an interdisciplinary, international, young and dynamic team of 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 environmental microbiology and molecular ecology. 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 10th 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 on the advertised PhD topic can be found on our website:
How to apply:
email to the following address:
Send application to
Prof. Dr. Andreas Kappler, Geomicrobiology group
Center for Applied Geosciences
University of Tübingen
Sigwartstrasse 10
D-72076 Tübingen

Phone: ++49-7071-2974992

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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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