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Metabolic constraints arising from the loss of organic carbon and structure from soils.

The “4‰ Soils for Food Security and Climate” agreement has focussed regulators’ and scientists’ minds alike on the role that carbon plays in fertility and global climate change. Organic carbon is often implicitly linked with soil structure and its rapid loss from conventionally managed agricultural soils is a cause of serious concern. Soil without biology however, is just dirt: it is critical that we understand the consequences of carbon and structural losses for soil metabolism. As the successful PhD candidate, you will work within an experienced multidisciplinary team generating insight of soil as a metabolically active system: one within which microbial activity – the engine of soil fertility – is explicit. You will have access to imaging and modelling techniques to describe microbe-scale soil structure and hydrodynamics, generate and analyse biological sequence data from soil microbiomes and have opportunities to collaborate internationally on Australian and African soils where carbon is severely limited.

Applicants should hold a minimum of a UK Honours Degree at 2:1 level or equivalent in appropriate subjects such as Soil, Biological or Environmental Sciences or Microbiology.

For further details or to discuss any aspects of the project, contact Dr. Andrew Neal at Rothamsted Research ( or Professor Karl Ritz at The University of Nottingham (