Microbial organisms interact with trace elements in diverse aquatic systems ranging from glaciers to sediment pore-waters. These transformations can have profound implications for element cycles such as those of C and N. Microbially mediated changes to the form of trace elements have common underlying chemical and biological processes with associated implications for element cycles. Our detailed understanding of these bio-transformations is poor, but nonetheless central to our understanding of many key environmental processes, including marine ecosystem functioning.
This is an excellent field for EST as it is highly inter-disciplinary, fundamental to our understanding of natural systems, and will provide Fellows and visiting researchers with training and skills needed in subsequent research careers. The inter-related group of high-calibre universities in BIOTRACS are all graded excellent for teaching and in the highest bands for their international quality research. The BIOTRACS group has extensive and powerful laboratory facilities coupled to knowledge and experience that will allow many of the questions about trace element transformations to be addressed in innovative and collaborative ways.
The participants have extensive experience of early stage researcher training, with large graduate schools and embedded additional training in essential knowledge and key skills, tailored to individual development plans. The Schools also have a significant fraction of overseas students and are attuned to effectively assimilating them into the postgraduate training programmes.
Current European research and personal links with BIOTRACS academics will provide an important context for further development of these EST Fellows. The BIOTRACS partners belong to the Worldwide Universities Network of outstanding international Universities that provides a powerful framework for this project.
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