A look at the functional genes of soil microorganisms!

Microbial communities are key players for the recycling of soil nitrogen and its return under inorganic forms into the atmosphere and the hydrosphere. By its presence, the tree provides a structured, oxygenated and sustainable habitat modulating soil microbial communities and their efficiency in recycling nitrogen in different forms with contrasting consequences for climate feedback. In a floodplain, the presence of the tree could prevent a strong emission of nitrous oxide and nitrate by promoting either the inhibition of nitrification or complete denitrification. To better highlight the role of the tree as a regulator of microbial functions, the project aims to analyze soil DNA by metagenomics to characterize genes related to the nitrogen cycle along a land-use gradient of anthropogenic disturbance in the floodplain of Lake St-Pierre, where cultivated fields, permanent grasslands and swamp forests co-occur.

We are looking for a candidate who is passionate about microbial ecology and the biogeochemistry of elementary cycles. The student will work within a team of ecologists and molecular biologists located at the Laurentian Forestry Center of the Canadian Forest Service (Natural Resources Canada) and at the University of Quebec in Trois-Rivières under the co-supervision of Christine Martineau (profile) and Vincent Maire (profile). The work will take place both in the field around Lac St-Pierre, recognized as a Ramsar site (info) and in the laboratory. Bioinformatics and statistical analyzes will be an important component of this project. She or he will be based at UQTR (Trois-Rivières) or at the Centre de Foresterie des Laurentides (Quebec) and will be affiliated with the Center for Northern Studies (website) and Center RIVE (website).

A scholarship of $20,000 per year (for two years) accompanies this project, but candidates who already have a major scholarship (e.g. CRSNG, FQRNT) or who will obtain it during the master’s degree may receive other benefits. The student will start in the winter or spring of 2024.

If you are interested in this offer, send by October 15, 2023 to the following information: (1) your CV, (2) a transcript including the names of the courses (it may not be official), and (3) a letter of interest.