Restoring degraded drylands ecosystems with bio-encapsulation of native soil microorganisms

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Two-thirds of the planet’ ecosystems are currently degraded and face serious threats such as loss of biodiversity and increased climate change vulnerability. Consequently, there is an urgent global demand for developing new strategies to progress current ecosystem restoration efforts. This project will harness novel technologies such as soil microbial DNA sequencing and seed enhancement, to improve plant recruitment and soil function in degraded drylands through effective targeted-delivery of native soil microorganisms, including indigenous biocrust cyanobacteria. The project is expected to provide scientific-based, cost-effective, and environmentally-based techniques for land managers, conservation agencies, and government departments, to help those enhance restoration outcomes.

The ideal candidate for the proposed research project should meet the following requirements:

- A completed university degree (Masters, Bachelor) with excellent grades, such as first class Honours, in Environmental Sciences, Ecology, Soil Sciences, or similar field of research.

- Excellent oral and written communication skills in English. All applicants, domestic and international, must meet the UNSW English language level requirements (IELTS, TOEFL or equivalent).

- Ability to work well independently with appropriate supervision, and as part of a collaborative research team

- Relevant field and laboratory research experience - management of plant and soil analytical and ecophysiological techniques is advantageous, and knowledge of molecular ecology techniques will be welcomed.

- Solid skills in data analyses and interpretation and ability to present and communicate results.

- Scientific (peer-reviewed) publications as lead or co-author will be highly valued.

Supervisory team
Dr Miram
Muñoz-Rojas

Science
Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences
Professor Angela
Moles

Science
Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences
Professor David
Eldridge

Science
Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences
m.munoz-rojas@unsw.edu.au