Dr. Kathrin Rousk awarded €1.5 million ERC Starting Grant

8.10.2020 | The funding will be used to investigate the vital process of nitrogen fixation in understudied, pristine environments.
Dr. Kathrin Rousk
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(© Kathrin Rousk)

Dr. Kathrin Rousk

Ecologist Dr. Kathrin Rousk, based at the University of Copenhagen, has secured €1.5 million worth of funding in the form of a European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant. The grant will run for five years.

Dr. Rousk studies a key ecosystem process: nitrogen fixation. The process is critical to life because the nitrogen is necessary for the natural synthesis of compounds like amino acids and proteins. Rousk’s research focuses specifically on how nitrogen fixation is controlled in the relationship between moss and cyanobacteria, which is a crucial source of nitrogen in environments undisturbed and unpolluted by humans, such as boreal forests and subarctic tundra.

The new ERC grant will allow Dr. Rousk to develop the field, which is still in its infancy, and shift research focus from Northern ecosystems to more understudied areas, like tropical cloud forests, which are also home to both moss and cyanobacteria. Her group will also study how the moss-cyanobacteria relationship might be affected by climate change, and develop models that will more accurately describe the biogeochemistry of the forests.

After completing her MSc at the University of Marburg, Germany, Dr. Rousk undertook a PhD in Forest Ecology at Bangor University in the UK. Then, after a six month postdoctoral position at Lund University in Sweden, she secured a personal grant from the Independent Research Fund Denmark and moved to Copenhagen. Her new ERC grant will start in 2021.   (© AcademiaNet)

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