PhD POSITION: Ecological genetics of Plant-Microbiome interactions

The Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO) is a top research institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). Mission of the NIOO is to carry out excellent fundamental and strategic research in ecology.

The department of Terrestrial Ecology offers a PhD POSITION Ecological genetics of Plant-Microbiome interactions

Project: Genetic basis and ecological relevance of intraspecific variation in grass-microbiome interactions

Project description Aim of this project is to investigate intraspecific variation in soil microbiomes and nematode assemblages that are associated with grass species. Grasses can benefit from associating with microbes via enhanced growth, stress tolerance or disease resistance. Interaction with beneficial microbes can be important for ecological adaptation and for grass breeding. To explore this potential, the project will (1) characterize intraspecific variation in microbiome/nematode effects on grass traits in different environments; (2) determine genetic and environmental determinants in grass-microbiome/nematode community composition; and (3) perform genetic mapping to characterize the genetic basis of grass interactions with specific taxa. The research will include (molecular) microbial and genetic analyses in the lab, as well as phenotyping assays in the greenhouse and field experiments. Microbial and genetic analyses are high-throughput sequencing-based, involving endosphere and rhizosphere community characterization via rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. Other methods that will be used include genotyping by sequencing, soil feedback assays, and metabolomics analysis. The project is a collaboration between the Department of Terrestrial Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) and the Laboratory of Nematology (Wageningen University) and experiments will be done at both institutes.

Requirements We are looking for a highly motivated candidate with an MSc degree in a relevant field of biology, for instance soil microbiology, molecular ecology or plant sciences, and with a keen interest in genetics and ecology. Good quantitative analysis skills are required, as are good communication, writing and presentation skills, and fluency in English. Experience with soil microbial community analysis and computational biology are important assets. The candidate should be able to function well in a multidisciplinary research team.

Appointment: This is a temporary appointment, initially for 1 year and upon satisfaction to be prolonged for a maximum of 4 years (1.0 fte). The preferred starting date is January 2019.

Salary: The gross salary (based on 1 fte appointment) starts at € 2.266, - per month in the 1st year, and will gradually increase to a maximum of € 2.897, - per month in the 4th year, scale P, Collective Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO Nederlandse Universiteiten), excluding 8% holiday pay and a year-end bonus.

Location: The Netherlands Institute of Ecology, NIOO-KNAW in Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Information For more information please contact Dr. Koen Verhoeven (tel. +31-317473624, e-mail or Prof. Jan Kammenga (tel. +31-317482998, email Information on the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO) can be found at the website:

Applications: Please send your application with vacancy number (PHD-TE-18011), including a cover letter detailing your motivation for and expectations from this position, your CV and contact information for two references to

The closing date for application is 25 November 2018. Interviews will be scheduled shortly after that date.