Research Title: Sustainable Ecosystems for Dairy Manure Management Using Biochar
Summary: We plan for the Ph.D. candidate to produce a minimum of a three-chapter dissertation by July 2026. This is only 30 months from hiring date so we must remain realistic that the candidate will only submit three separate refereed journal articles. The student will be embedded in an established multi-year study of agronomic, environmental, and microbial impacts of converting dairy manure into biochar for use as soil amendments. The focus of the student will be assessing changes in soil/plant/water microbiomes.
Chapter 1: Impacts of Dairy Manure Biochar Amendments on Soil Bacterial and Fungal Taxa. Chapter 2: Biochar for Mitigation of Antibiotic Resistance Genes in Dairy Manure Management. Chapter 3: Greenhouse Gas Mitigation via Biochar Soil Amendments. Chapter 4: (optional) Impacts on Soil Carbon Sequestration and Greenhouse Gas Production When Using Dairy Manure Biochar as a Feed Additive
Location: Stephenville Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center & Tarleton State University
Degree: Ph.D. at Tarleton State University
Duration: 30 months
Contact: Dr. James P. Muir firstname.lastname@example.org 1-254-977-3293
Timeline for Biochar Microbiome COANR PhD Assistantship/Research Associate position:
2024: January: Student hired and begins program; Research efforts initiated. February: Literature review initiated, Data analysis for previous sampling years. March: Lab-scale GHG experiments. May: Proposal and Proposal Defense; Year 1 field trials and data collection; SSARE graduate student grant proposal. November: Present at ASA/CSSA annual meeting
2025: February: First chapter/ manuscript to committee. May: Year 2 field trials and data collection. July: Lab-scale ARG experiments; Second chapter/manuscript to committee. September: Year 2 yield and quality data collection; Present at ASA/CSSA annual meeting; Preliminary Exam. November: Dissertation Defense and Final Exam.
2026: May: Third chapter/manuscript to committee. April: Submit grant proposal to USDA. July: Dissertation submission to COGS
- Student must have a MSc. degree.
- Student must be accepted into the graduate program at Tarleton State University for Ph.D.
- Student must pass a state-mandated criminal background check applicable to all new employees
- Student will maintain a 3.0 or better GPA during graduate program.
- Student must provide a CV or current resume
- Student will carry out research in laboratories, greenhouses and field during all seasons. This involves greenhouse and field work in various hot, cold and inclement weather conditions including planting, irrigating, weeding, collecting data and generally being responsible for greenhouse and field experiments.
- Student will carry out laboratory assays on plant and soil material.
- Student will manage data and carry out statistical analyses on that data.
- Student will write a thesis related to the topic at Tarleton State University.
- Student will submit at least three manuscript to a refereed journals during the graduate program.
- Student will assist with teaching at least one course or lab at Tarleton.
- Student will present research at university, state and national scientific meetings including abstracts.
- Student will participate in other research programs as needed.