PhD position available at the Department of Ecology and Environmental Science

PhD student position in Environmental sciences directed towards paleolimnological studies of varved lakes Announced by the Department of Ecology and Environmental Science (EMG)

Project description
Model predictions for future climate indicate dramatic shifts in the accentuation of the different seasons. Changed seasonality has strong implications for ecosystems and society, not least at higher latitudes. Despite its significance, little is known about seasonality changes in the past, mainly because the majority of paleoclimatological archives track summer conditions or have low temporal resolution. By combining analyses of diatoms and varved lake sediments, this research project will develop and apply a novel approach to reconstruct changes in seasonality. Sensitivity analysis of diatoms to seasonal climate conditions using surface sediment samples and sediment trap data, as well as combined high-resolution time series analyses of diatoms and varve properties in the lake Kassjön (N Sweden) are used to develop a quantitative seasonality index.

This quantitative index will be applied to infer seasonality changes during time-periods of interest over the past >6000 yrs, relating locally prevailing seasonal shifts in precipitation and temperature to regional circulation patterns and climate regimes. This project will increase the understanding of long-term changes of seasonal climate dynamics, which is highly relevant in light of recorded and predicted rapid climate changes. Furthermore, high-resolution paleoclimatological data covering winter climate conditions are rare and essential for constraining global circulation models, and hence improve future climate predictions.

A PhD education is 4 years (48 months) and the PhD-student will get a formal position at the start of the project (Swe: doktorandanställning). Up to 10 % as teaching assistant may be included in the position (then the position will be extended accordingly). The tasks of the PhD education include fieldwork, diatom analyses and geochemical analyses, data analyses using mathematical and statistical methods, participation in courses, writing of scientific papers and presenting the project outcome at workshops and conferences.

The recruitment procedure for the position is in accordance with the Higher Education Ordinance (Högskoleförordningen Chapter 5 and 7). Prerequisites include either i) 240 ECTS credits (Swe. högskolepoäng) of higher education studies of which 60 should be on an advanced level (Master level), or ii) 120 Swedish (old) credits (Swe. poäng; corresponding to 180 ECTS credits) of higher education studies if they were taken before July 1, 2007 or equivalent competence.

The candidate should have education in environmental sciences, biology, physical geography, or in associated subjects. Experience of diatom analyses, multivariate statistical techniques and fieldwork are a merit, but not prerequisite. The successful applicant should have good ability to write and speak in English, creativity, power of initiative, independence and ability to collaborate. Evaluations will be based on results on University courses, quality of master’s thesis, references, interviews and the letter of intent.

The application should include a letter of intent, certified curriculum vita that includes information on previous education, ev. copies of the master’s thesis publications and other documents supporting your competence and suitability for the position, and address and phone number to two reference persons. The application may be written in English or Swedish.

For more information, contact Assoc. Prof. Christian Bigler, phone +46-(0)70-280 96 24, e-mail:
Union information is available from SACO, +46-(0)90-786 53 65, SEKO, +46-(0)90-786 52 96 and ST, +46-(0)90-786 54 31.

Applications will be discarded or, if the applicant so wishes, returned two years after the position has been filled. The application can be submitted either electronically (MS Word or PDF format) or in hard-copy (2 copies) form. Your complete application, marked with reference number 313-1078-10, should be sent to (state the reference number as subject) or to the Registrar, Umeå University, SE-901 87 Umeå, Sweden to arrive December 20, 2010 at the latest.

We look forward to receiving your application!

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