Funded PhD and Postdoc Opportunities in Soil Microbial Ecology and Soil Organic Matter related to agriculture and climate change

Funded PhD and Postdoc Opportunities in Soil Microbial Ecology and Soil Organic Matter related to agriculture and climate change

Funded PhD and Postdoc Opportunities in Soil Microbial Ecology and Soil Organic Matter related to agriculture and climate change


The Soil Biogeochemistry and Ecology Lab at McGill University and the Quebec Research and Development Centre of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada are seeking candidates for one PhD position and one Postdoctoral Fellow. Both positions are part of a multidisciplinary project examining the interactive effects of crop diversity and altered precipitation regimes on soils, microbial processes, pesticide use, and agronomic performance. Our goal is to determine if and how increased crop diversity attenuates the responses of soil carbon, microbial communities, and pesticide use to changing precipitation patterns. The positions are funded through the FRQNT-MAPAQ Partnership Research Program-Sustainable Agriculture. Both the PhD and Postdoc will be co-supervised by Drs. Cynthia Kallenbach (McGill) and Mary-Cathrine Leewis (AAFC).


Funded PhD Opportunity:

This position is focused on understanding how soil microbial community composition and function is affected by altered precipitation and how microbial responses to changing precipitation might be modified by increasing crop diversity. The student will work within the DART (Diversity And Rainfall Treatments) field trials at McGill University. Using a combined approach of molecular microbial ecology (including metagenomic and amplicon sequencing) and functional assays (e.g., microbial growth, enzyme assays), we will examine microbial responses associated with soil organic matter cycling, nutrients, and pesticide retention. Successful candidates should have a strong interest in basic and applied soil microbial ecology, and in applying bioinformatic skills to hypothesis testing. The candidate will collaborate with other graduate students and postdocs on the project. The student will be based at McGill University and will spend time at the AAFC lab. There are several opportunities for farmer and stakeholder engagement. A MSc in microbial ecology or related fields is preferred but not required.

Start date: 

September 1st 2022 but flexible. For students starting the McGill graduate program in Winter 2023, please note that the application deadline for international students is July 15th 2022 and for Canadian residents it is September 1st 2022.

Funded Postdoctoral Opportunity:

This position is funded for a minimum of 2 years and is focused on understanding how increasing crop diversity influences the response of soil organic matter to reduced and increased precipitation. We will consider mechanisms related to soil organic matter retention and destabilization, distribution within the soil profile, and across soil organic matter molecular and functional pools. The candidate should have a particular interest in learning methods in soil organic molecular chemistry such as pyrolysis GC/MS. The candidate will be part of a larger team working within the crop diversity by precipitation DART field trial and will be expected to collaborate with other PhD students and project co-PIs. Opportunities in outreach and engagement, networking, and career development will be supported. Successful candidates should have a strong interest soil carbon and soil chemistry. Experience with stable isotopes and applying GC/MS techniques is a benefit.

Start date:

Summer 2022 but flexible. Salary: Salary may vary by experience. Minimum salary is $45,000 CAD annually plus benefits.


How to Apply:

If you are interested in one of these positions, please apply by completing this google survey and we will contact you! Please direct any questions about the positions to [email protected] and [email protected] with “RQRAD Position Application” in the subject line.

We will start reviewing applications on June 1 but applications will continue to be reviewed until the position is filled.

Read also: Fully Funded Ph.D. position in performance-based wind design of tall buildings at McGill University, Canada

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