PhD Opportunity: Investigating the role of the bacterial endosymbiotic microbiome in the extremophilic fungi Pisolithus tinctorius, New Zealand

A PhD scholarship is available from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, to investigate why a extremophilic basidiomycete fungal species (Pisolithus tinctorius) found throughout geothermal areas in New Zealand and the US, hosts intra-tissue (endosymbiotic) bacterial communities populated with new candidate phyla and novel deeply-branching lineages. The role in which these endosymbiotic bacterial community play with respect to the fungal host is not known although we hypothesise that this relationship is mutualistic, permitting both cohorts to survive in highly challenging and nutrient-poor geothermal soils.

This doctoral research will focus on the use molecular, ecological, geochemical and cultivation techniques to test whether the determine the role that these endosymbiotic microbial communities play within the fungal host.

The doctoral candidate will be supervised by Dr Matthew Stott ( and Dr Ken Cullings (

Applicants must have a MSc or BSc Honours (first class) (or equivalent) in microbiology, bioinformatics or equivalent field. Experience in metagenomics, cultivation and characterisation and environmental chemistry is viewed positively but is not essential.

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