PhD Student Position in Environmental Microbiology / University of Vienna

A 3-year PhD position is available joining the Groundwater Ecology group at the DFEE, University of Vienna. The PhD student will conduct research within the framework of the Austrian Science Fund FWF-WEAVE Grant “Methane e-scape” on methane ebullition in aquatic ecosystems. This project is a collaboration between the WasserCluster Lunz, the Global Change Research Institute, CAS (CZ) and the University of Vienna.

Project description:
Aquatic ecosystems are a major source of the potent greenhouse gas methane (CH4), accounting for half of the global methane emissions. The most significant escape routes of CH4 from freshwater ecosystems to the atmosphere are diffusion, ebullition, and plant-mediated CH4 fluxes. Ebullition means the escape of CH4 as gas bubbles directly from the sediments through the water column and to the atmosphere, which results from the low solubility of CH4 in freshwaters. The high spatiotemporal variability of CH4 emissions hinders our ability to upscale and extrapolate regional to global GHG fluxes.

Our aim is to develop high-resolution, small-scale environmental data sets paired with geomorphic information within and across different stream ecosystems in parallel with measurements of CH4 concentrations, fluxes, sediment production, and methanogens that are key to an improved understanding of the global freshwater CH4 budget. The researcher will use a combination of molecular methods such as qPC, amplicon sequencing and physico-chemical analysis to investigate sources and mechanisms of methane ebullition. Furthermore, we will apply meta-genomics and -transcriptomics to identify the main microbial groups and pathways involved in methane production.

The successful candidate will benefit from a collaborative and international research network. The Vienna Doctoral School of Ecology and Evolution provides training for the personal development of young scientist and helps to advance their skill set and manage their research project.

Interested candidates (f/m/d) must have a MSc degree in a relevant field. Students with experience in biogeochemistry, geobiology and/or microbial ecology are particularly encouraged to apply. Experience with molecular techniques such as nucleic acid extractions, DNA amplification and bioinformatic skills, would be highly beneficial. Motivation, creativity and curiosity are essential assets. Willingness to conduct fieldwork in stream environments traveling (to the Czech Republic and within Austria) is required.

We thrive to be an inclusive, welcoming and safe environment for people of all backgrounds, ethnic identities and gender identities. Good verbal and written language skills in English are necessary.

How to apply:
For your application, submit a letter of interest and your CV including publications and names of two references and send to Clemens Karwautz (

Deadline for the application is April 14th 2024. The preferable starting date is 1st August 2024.

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