Short-term Consultancy : Soil Biodiversity Expert

Posting Date
21 October 2020
Closing Date
31 October 2020
Report To
Emirates Soil Museum Curator
Vacancy Type
Job Number
Short Term Consultancy

The International Center for Biosaline Agriculture(ICBA) is an international, non-profit agricultural research center established in 1999 through the visionary leadership of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD), and the Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). ICBA is a unique applied agricultural research center in the world that is focused on marginal areas where an estimated 1.7 billion people live. It identifies, tests and introduces resource-efficient, climate-smart crops and technologies that are best suited to different regions affected by salinity, water scarcity and drought. Through its work, ICBA helps to improve food security and livelihoods for some of the poorest rural communities around the world. ICBA is an equal opportunity employer and appoints qualified staff regardless of race, creed, color, age, gender, religion or national origin. We demonstrate our commitment to each member of our team through a competitive benefits package designed to assist our employees to cover their needs and the needs of their immediate family members.

Job Summary

The assignment is to develop/produce content for the temporary digital exhibition that the Emirates Soil Museum is organizing for World Soil Day on December 5, 2020.

The theme for World Soil Day is “Keep soil alive, protect soil biodiversity”. The consultant is to work with the museum curator in developing content (text and images) of megafauna, macrofauna, mesofauna, microfauna and microorganisms. The exhibition is to tell a compelling story of soil biodiversity with a focus on the UAE.

The exhibition will be 100% digital/online and will be made available on the Emirates Soil Museum website. The consultant is to develop the content for this exhibition. The content would include text accompanied by images of the biodiversity referred to, as well as videos of these organisms in motion.

The consultant may also participate in an online webinar on World Soil Day (December 5) for 1 hour to talk about the exhibition.

Job Responsibilities

Key topics to be included in the exhibition include:

  1. Introduction to soil biodiversity
  2. Introduction to different types of soil biodiversity accompanied with examples and images
  3. Overview on the functions/benefits of these organisms
  4. Common threats to soil biodiversity
  5. Overview on the spread of soil biodiversity across different biomes
  6. Focus on the desert biome’s biodiversity
  7. Focus on the UAE’s specific biodiversity
    1. Common mega, macro, meso and microfauna/flora
    2. Explanation on why they are common/where they are found/ adaptive features and unique properties that enable their survival
    3. Provision of images of all species with a focus on microorganisms found in the UAE
    4. Presentation of any studies showing trends such as decline/increase in numbers in the UAE with explanation
    5. Invitation to take action/responsibility on how to sustain and enhance soil biodiversity

The consultant is expected to have such content from previous work available with rights to use the data and images/videos (with sourcing, of course). This would allow for remote work.

If the consultant is based in the UAE and prefers to, they may use ICBA lab for studying microorganisms/generating images from microscope etc.

Qualifications and Experience
  • MSc or PhD in Soil Microbiology, Soil Science, Soil Ecology, Soil Biodiversity, Soil Biology, Soil and Sustainability or similar.
  • 5-10 years’ experience in soil biodiversity/biology/microbiology research and education.
  • Experience should be on desert ecosystems, preferably with experience in the UAE particularly.
  • Fluent in English
  • Experience in examining microbial colony structures, fungal structures, cultivating and enumerating bacteria from soil samples (preparation of soil dilution, making spread plates for bacterial culture, isolation of pure culture and streak plating).

Required Skills*

  • Principles of soil microorganisms,
  • Soil slide microcosm preparation (contact slide assay etc.),
  • Slide staining and microscopy,
  • Interpretation of microscopy results,
  • Isolation and identification of fungi (like filamentous fungi),
  • Fungus inoculation and incubation,
  • Soil sample preparation,
  • Colony counting and examination by microscopy,
  • Gram staining,
  • Capsule staining,
  • Endospore staining (Schaeffer Fulton method).