In many globally important ecosystems, climate change leads to more extreme fluctuations in precipitation and temperatures involving more severe drought and rainfall events.
Fluctuations in precipitation will affect soil moisture availability, which regulates the activity of soil microbes. A massive pulse of carbon dioxide is often observed when water is added to a dry soil, but the status of the different groups of soil microbes under dry conditions and following rewetting is unknown. The question under study is how drying and/or rewetting affect CO2 emissions and microbial activity status.
The project may involve incubation of soil samples in the laboratory, quantitative PCR on key genes involved in microbial responses to thawing or wetting, transcriptomic analyses of soil microbes (with a focus on rRNA transcripts revealing the activity response of different groups of soil microorganisms), and gas flux analyses. You will learn techniques to measure general soil parameters, analyse rRNA, and estimate release of CO2 from soil.
Starting date is flexible and upon agreement.
Supervisors: Anders Priemé.