PhD student – algal and/or microbial ecology and biogeochemical nutrient cycling

PhD student for fall 2017
with interests in algal and/or microbial ecology and biogeochemical nutrient cycling.

The student would be enrolled in the graduate program in Biological Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM). Full support is available in the form of a Research Assistantship during the academic year and summer support for three years, and thereafter guaranteed Teaching Assistantship support. There is also travel support for training in collaborating labs and conferences.

The student would work on a National Science Foundation supported collaborative project to investigate interactions between algae and bacteria in an integrated photo-bioelectrochemical treatment system for capturing energy and removing nitrogen and phosphorus nutrients from wastewater. In collaboration with microbial fuel cell engineers at Virginia Tech University, we will examine the nutrient uptake and transformation functions of different algal species. Opportunities include working with genetic profiling to characterize microbial community composition and function, analysis of metagenomes to investigate community nutrient transformation, and mathematical modeling of nutrient fluxes and transformations. These datasets can be used to address questions related to community physiological collaboration, algal biomass production for biofuels, sequestration of greenhouse gases, aquatic ecosystem health and remediation.

Requirements: Some undergraduate background in microbial and/or algal physiology or ecology essential. Some experience with the following highly desirable: aquatic nutrient analysis, microbial fuel cells, algal biomass estimation, microbial culturing, genetic analysis or related methods.

Current related research topics in the lab include:
Nutrient limitation and phytoplankton productivity
Prokaryote and eukaryote aquatic community characterization and functional profiling
Metagenome analysis of complex algal-bacterial communities
Mathematical modeling of nutrient uptake and assimilation by algae
Nitrogen assimilation by freshwater algae and marine seaweeds

Other groups within UWM Department of Biological Sciences host research in algal and aquatic ecology, and environmental microbiology. We also have affiliations with the UWM School of Freshwater Sciences. The NSF project will be co-advised by Drs Erica Young and John Berges.

Interested students are encouraged to contact Erica Young ( to discuss more about the project and your interests, as soon as possible. Applications are due December 1, 2016, but applications will be considered up to January 1, 2017.
Details of the graduate program at can be found at and more about the Department of Biological Sciences at Applicants need to indicate their interest in Erica Young’s lab in the application materials. More about UWM, a Carnegie Tier 1 research institution, and its graduate programs is at and more about student life at UWM can be found at

Erica B. Young Associate Professor
Department of Biological Sciences
Univ Wisconsin Milwaukee, USA…/biologic…/facultystaff/young/index.cfm