Association of Polar Early Career Scientists


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PhD position investigating environmental adaptation of microbial communities in Alpine permafrost
Sion/Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Graduate Position

The laboratory for Microbiome Adaptation in the Changing Environment (MACE) is seeking PhD student to lead a project on environmental adaptation of Alpine permafrost microbial communities.

The successful candidate will join the Alpine and Polar Environmental Research Centre (ALPOLE) at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland. The ALPOLE research center is based in Sion, Switzerland with a mission to address key challenges related to environmental change in Alpine and Polar regions undergoing rapid and unprecedented transformations.

Permafrost landscapes are rapidly transforming due to anthropogenic climate change. Climate warming disproportionately impacting cryosphere habitats results in an increased rate of permafrost degradation and further releases of greenhouse gases (GHGs) via microbial decomposition of ancient carbon stores. The response of cryophilic microorganisms to warming in Polar and Alpine regions will shape future GHG emissions.

The PhD project will focus on the environmental adaptation strategies of cryospheric microbial communities in response to climate warming and in turn gauge the downstream effects these communities have on GHG emissions and ecosystem functions in alpine permafrost.

To anticipate the full potential of the microbial organisms to adapt to climate change the project will integrate understanding of both community population level changes and individual molecular scale adaptation strategies that allow organisms to thrive in rapidly changing and threatened permafrost environments. This will be achieved through integration of in situ field measurements, culturing, multi-omics, and computational methods.

Furthermore, the overall project will aim to integrate multiple layers of data including biogeochemical measurements, Oxford nanopore metagenomics, and metatranscriptomics/metaproteomics in a united analysis.


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