Katja KozjekDoctoral Student
I have completed my Bachelor's degree in microbiology from the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia (Biotechnical Faculty) and Master's degree in microbiology from the University of Innsbruck, Austria (Faculty of Biology).
Currently, I am working on my PhD project at Lund University. The PhD project is integrated into a Biodiversa project SOILCLIM that started in January of 2017 and is a collaboration between five European partners. Biodiversa project will address the impact of altered precipitation patterns and declining soil carbon on soil biodiversity of a number of organism groups and associated ecosystem functions that can be problematic for farming given the projected summer drought trends throughout Europe.
The general aim of the PhD project is to provide knowledge of the functional genetic diversity of soil microorganisms involved in carbon cycling in agricultural soils. Different functions in soils, such as carbon cycling occur through direct and indirect interactions between microorganisms and plants and are often carried out by extracellular enzymes. In my research I will use recently developed targeted metagenomic analysis of functional microbial genes. With this approach we can assign each functional gene to a taxomonic group and are able to elucidate which groups (bacteria, fungi, archaea or protists) are performing a particular function in the soil carbon cycle. Re-design of already available custom made oligo arrays targeting enzymatic regions and focusing on extracellular enzymes will enable that fungi and archaea will be better represented. This research will increase the current resolution of the mechanisms of carbon cycling during land use and climate change, as well as identifying functions that are impaired at intensification of agricultural management or climate change.