A networking resource devoted to biological soil crusts and the researchers who study them. We will provide a means for international scientists to communicate, share their research, share important news and announcements, ask questions and find collaborators. We will also provide a space for informal writing on research, opinion, and ideas (now seeking posters!).

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ph.D. Student opening in plant-soil interactions under climate change

Hi all,

This project is not biocrust related, but some of the soil ecology fans who come across this blog might have some interest or know someone who might....

The Bowker lab at the School of Forestry (SOF), Northern Arizona University, seeks a motivated Ph.D. student to conduct field and greenhouse experiments near Flagstaff, Arizona starting in Fall 2013. The student will use the newly-established Southwest Experimental Garden Array (SEGA) to determine the role of soil organisms (e.g. mycorrhizal fungi, pathogens, etc.) in speeding or slowing plant migration under climate change. SEGA provides the infrastructure and a rare opportunity to conduct cutting edge global change research. Four years of funding are available to the student (Annual stipend of $19,950, tuition remission, and student health coverage) in addition to modest project costs. The student will be expected to seek additional resources (grants, scholarships, etc.) to help extend the project.
            Objectives: The southern Colorado Plateau is already exhibiting rapid contraction of species distributions as climatic warming shifts the lower elevation and latitudinal limits of plant species that may be faster than expansion of species ranges at the upper elevation and latitudinal limits
Specifically, the objectives of this research are to:
1. Determine whether stress-adapted soil communities can enhance growth and fitness of less stress-adapted plant populations, thereby buffering against die-back.
2. Determine whether the adaptations of soil organisms dictate the success of assisted migration of plant species into cooler climates.
            Within this general framework, the student will be encouraged to develop their own additional research questions.
            Research Environment: The School of Forestry is one of the top Forestry Schools in the nation, and a productive research environment, with faculty members specializing in a variety of ecological topics such as landscape ecology, ecological restoration, plant ecophysiology, entomology, hydrology, and soil ecology among other topics. The candidate will also have opportunities to interact with members of the Soil Ecology lab of Nancy Johnson who will also be involved in the project.
            Preferred Qualifications: Master of Science in Forestry, Biology, Environmental Science or related field, or a Bachelor of Science in these fields supplemented with research experience (undergraduate thesis, capstone or internship, or employment-related experience). Candidates with field research experience will be strongly favored, especially in maintenance and construction of field experiments. Candidates with previous experience in soil ecology and/or climate change experimental manipulations will also be favored. Due to manual labor needs in the experimental setup, physical fitness is required. The candidate must satisfy all requirements set by the School of Forestry, and Northern Arizona University.
Admissions requirements (Deadline March 15, 2013):
  • GPA of 3.0 or greater on a 4.0 scale in all college and university work
  • GRE scores in the top 40th percentile
  • If English is not your native language:
    a score of at least 80 on the internet-based TOEFL or
    550 on the paper-based TOEFL or
    213 on the computer-based TOEFL
  • Three letters of recommendation
How to apply:  First contact me directly (matthew.bowker@nau.edu) to state your research interests, and motivations for attending graduate school, with “SEGA graduate student inquiry” in the header. Please provide a resume or C.V., and provide your GRE scores and GPA. If I agree that you are a good match for the position, I will encourage you to apply to the program.
Useful Links
School of Forestry - http://nau.edu/cefns/forestry/
Southwest Experimental Garden array - http://www4.nau.edu/insidenau/bumps/2011/10_3_11/nsf.html

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