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Postdoctoral Research Associate/Fellow

University of Exeter - Faculty of Environment, Science and Economy

Location: Devon, Exeter
Salary: The starting salary will be from £32,982 on Grade E. For Fellow it will be from £41,732 on Grade F, depending on qualifications and experience.
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 10th June 2024
Closes: 29th August 2024
Job Ref: R90082

This new full-time post is available immediately on a fixed-term basis until 1 March 2027.

Summary of the role

The Faculty wishes to recruit either a Postdoctoral Research Associate or Fellow to participate in a project investigating the evolutionary ecology of global change in microbial systems - MICROADAPT. This NERC-funded post is available immediately to 1 March 2027. The successful applicant will conduct and statistically analyse microbial evolution and ecology experiments using synthetic and natural communities.

The temperature dependence of microbial respiration remains one of the largest uncertainties in the response of the carbon cycle to climate change. Over short timescales, metabolic rates increase exponentially with temperature. A temperature-induced increase in microbial respiration will lead to an increase in the flux of carbon into the atmosphere, which may lead to more warming, resulting in a positive feedback. However, studies from multiple ecosystem types, have shown a decrease in the temperature sensitivity of community respiration under long-term warming. A dampened response of respiration to temperature would reduce or remove the positive feedback and current anthropogenic emissions would lead to less warming. The underlying ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that contribute to a dampening of the temperature sensitivity of microbial respiration are still up for debate and no consensus has been reached on their relative importance, hindering efforts to capture this important phenomenon in predictive models. The aim of the MICROADAPT project is to determine how rapid evolution and species sorting shape the temperature dependence of microbial community respiration using an array of innovative experiments with a microbial model system. In synergy with the experimental data, the post holder will collaborate with Prof. Samraat Pawar and a second post-doc associated with the MICROADAPT project to develop novel mathematical theory that captures the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that shape the emergent temperature response of microbial metabolism.

About you

Applicants for Fellow will possess a relevant PhD or equivalent qualification/experience in a related field of study. The successful applicant will be a nationally recognised authority in microbial ecology and possess sufficient specialist knowledge in the discipline to develop research programmes and methodologies. The successful applicant will also be able to work collaboratively, supervise the work of others and act as team leader as required. Applicants will be able to execute large and complex experiments with synthetic bacterial communities, know the techniques related to sequencing and analysis of sequencing data. The candidate should have a good knowledge of theory underlying the links between community function and structure, especially linked to multi-community assemblies.

Applicants for Associate will possess a relevant PhD (or be nearing completion) or possess an equivalent qualification/experience in a related field of study and be able to demonstrate sufficient knowledge in the discipline and of research methods and techniques to work within established research programmes.

Please ensure you read the Job Description and Person Specification (available on the university's website, accessed by the 'Apply' button) for full details of this role.

Further information

Please contact Prof. Gabriel Yvon-Durocher, e-mail g.yvon-durocher@exeter.ac.uk.

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