PhD Studentship (16-06-09)

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University of Reading

Evaluation Of Tree Species x Soil Type Interactions For Their Potential For Long Term C Sequestration

Department of Soil Science

A PhD studentship is offered for the following research topic. This funding is open to UK and EU students, competition funded (with one other project)

Evaluation of tree species x soil type interactions for their potential for long term C sequestration.

Supervisors: Drs Liz Shaw and Anne Verhoef (Soil Science, University of Reading) & Dr Elena Vanguelova (Centre for Forestry and Climate Change, Forest Research)

Forests store carbon in both the above-ground woody biomass and below-ground forest soil system. Conversion of non-forestry land uses to forest is currently a favoured option for the reduction of increases in atmospheric CO2 as a result of this carbon sequestration potential of forest ecosystems. However, predicting the potential of forest soils to act as a stable and long-term store of carbon relies on a detailed mechanistic understanding of :

   1. how soil processes driving the size and quality of the soil carbon pool are influenced by soil type and tree species; and,
   2. the environmental sensitivity of these driving factors for different soil-species combinations.

Therefore, the overall scientific aim of the studentship is to dissect the forest soil carbon cycle with respect to the interactive effect of soil type and tree species on organic matter pools and biochemical processes and their sensitivity to environmental change. The project will capitalise on an EU project (see that has already established a common database of forest soils across different soil types and tree species.

This is a joint studentship between the Department of Soil Science (University of Reading) and Forest Research (Alice Holt). We anticipate that you will be based at Reading but spend a minimum of 8 weeks per annum at Forest Research. Through this studentship, you will develop a range of research and generic skills, benefit from the interactions of academic and environmental government research, and have the opportunity to develop as an independent scientist with excellent employment prospects.

The UK or EU candidate must hold the equivalent of a first class or upper second class degree, ideally in Biology, Chemistry or Environmental Science.

Application and further information

For further details please contact Dr Liz Shaw (+44 118 378 6971, E-mail: To apply please e-mail a CV and a covering letter stating why you wish to apply.

The closing date for applications is June 29th 2009 and interviews will be held on July 2nd 2009




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