Influence of plant and soil diversity on molecular composition of dissolved organic matter (DOM)
Project descriptionDissolved organic matter (DOM) is a key component in the global carbon cycle and knowledge on its composition and reactivity is crucial to understand biogeochemical processes (1), such as nutrient cycling and organic matter storage (2). DOM, initially leached from decomposing plant material or exuded from roots, undergoes a substantial processing and recycling by soil microorganisms. Thereby, the soil microbial community remobilizes nutrients, which in turn are needed for plant growth. Thus, DOM integrates the information of production and decomposition processes (3) and helps to better understand the interactions between plants and the soil microbial community. The project will elaborate interactions between plants, the soil microbial community and the soil matrix by using an advanced ultra-high resolution mass spectrometric approach. The successful PhD candidate will analyse molecular signatures of DOM, in order to better understand the positive plant diversity effects on the ecosystem in general and specifically why this positive relation strengths over time.
The PhD candidate will work in the frame of The Jena Experiment, one of the longest running largescale biodiversity-ecosystem experiments in the world (4, 5). The central aim of the experiment is to uncover the mechanisms that determine biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships in the short- and in the long-term by applying novel experimental and analytical approaches (6). Supervision at the MPI-BGC is provided by Prof. Dr. Gerd Gleixner and Dr. Markus Lange. Additional expertise will be provided by Simon Benk (network analysis) Carsten Simon (fragmentation trees).
Working group and planned collaborationsThe PhD candidate will work in the working group of apl. Prof. Dr. Gerd Gleixner at MPI-BGC. Additional measurements will be conducted in the labs of our cooperation partners Thorsten Dittmar (University of Oldenburg) that provide access to Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT-ICR-MS). Supervision at the MPI-BGC is provided by apl. Prof. Dr. Gerd Gleixner and Dr. Markus Lange. Prof. Dr. Georg Pohnert as supervisor from the Friedrich Schiller University Jena will provide additional advice on analytical chemistry.
RequirementsApplications to the IMPRS-gBGC are open to well-motivated and highly-qualified students from all countries. For this particular PhD project we seek a candidate with
(a) Aerial view of The Jena Experiment, the longest-running biodiversity experiments in Europe; (b) Front view of an LC-Orbitrap MS system; (c) Plot of DOM spectra from different soil depths, analysed with ultra-high resolution mass spectrometry
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