PhD Fellow in glacier biogeochemistry

UiT The Arctic University of Norway

Tromsø, Norway 🇳🇴

The Department of Geosciences at UiT The Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø has a PhD position vacant for applicants who wish to obtain the degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) in Science. The topic is the impacts of glacier retreat on nutrient and metal cycling from ice to ocean. This will form part of a larger programme focussed on the biogeochemical impacts of melting glaciers and ice sheets. In addition to this announced position, a post-doctoral fellow will be appointed to work with complementary tasks of the project.

The position is affiliated to the Department of Geosciences, and forms part of a new glacier biogeochemical research group at UiT (joint with the Norwegian Polar Institute). The department has research and teaching activities in marine geology and geophysics, solid earth science, and coastal and terrestrial geosciences, glaciology, environmental geochemistry. Department of Geosciences is host for one Centre of Excellence (CAGE – Centre for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Environment and Climate), and one Petrocentre (ARCEx – Research Centre for Arctic Petroleum Exploration). The appointed PhD candidate will benefit from cooperation with cross-disciplinary groups at the Department of Geosciences.

The workplace will be the Department of Geosciences at UiT The Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø. You must be able to start in the position in Tromsø within a reasonable time after receiving the offer.

The position is for a period of four years. The nominal length of the PhD programme is three years. The fourth year is distributed on average as 25 % each year and will consist of duty work. This may include teaching (e.g. supervision and evaluation of student exercises) at various levels, as well as performance of other duties relevant for the department. UiT The Arctic University of Norway funds the position.

The objective of the position is to complete research training to the level of a doctoral degree. Admission to the PhD programme is a prerequisite for employment, and the programme period starts on commencement of the position.

About the project and the research

Glaciers and ice sheets have thinned and retreated at accelerating rates in recent decades. The implications of these changes for global sea levels and riverine runoff (i.e. water quantity) are well established, but the impacts on water quality are still poorly understood. Changing runoff fluxes, expanding proglacial land surfaces and shifts in hydrological flow paths are likely to have dramatic impacts on nutrient and organic carbon supply to downstream ecosystems, with the potential for toxic metal release in some bedrock terrains.

The primary focus of the project will be to use the vast array of glacier types and bedrock terrains on mainland Norway and Svalbard as a natural laboratory to better understand the future impacts of glacier retreat on nutrient and trace metal cycling and export (speciation, concentration, fluxes, microbial mediators), with implications for downstream terrestrial and fjord ecosystems. The candidate will undertake fieldwork in Norway and Svalbard, with a view to analysing and interpreting field samples and remotely sensed data to help them constrain the water quality impacts of the future retreat of world glaciers over contrasting bedrock.


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