Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment

Two PhD positions on methane and ammonium dynamics in marine systems, Utrecht University

Application deadline: 19 April 2021

Join the Utrecht-Nijmegen team and work on the ERC Synergy project MARIX for 4 years!

Job description

The Department of Earth Sciences at Utrecht University, Utrecht, and the Department of Microbiology at Radboud University, Nijmegen, in the Netherlands have an opening for two fully funded PhD projects to work on the ERC Synergy project MARIX for 4 years. MARIX stands for 'Methane and Ammonium Removal In redoX transition zones'. The project focuses on the discovery of new microbial and geochemical pathways of removal of methane and ammonium in sediments and the water column of coastal marine systems.

Sharp redox transitions in marine environments are prime sites for removal of toxic ammonium and the greenhouse gas methane. In this project, we are exploring the redox reactions, microbial players and key controls that explain this removal.

The MARIX project combines sea-based fieldwork with laboratory experiments and reactive transport modelling. The two new PhD candidates will focus on sediment processes in a range of field work areas including the Netherlands and Sweden. A key goal will be to increase the understanding of processes leading to the anaerobic removal of methane and ammonium coupled to reduction of iron oxides and the interactions between the nitrogen, methane and iron cycles.

The MARIX team and collaborating research groups currently consists of Prof C.P. Slomp (UU Geochemistry), Prof M.S.M. Jetten (RU Microbiology), several PhD students and Postdocs and complementary staff members at Utrecht and Radboud Universities. PhD1, with a focus on geochemistry, will be based in the Geochemistry group at Utrecht University. PhD2, with a focus on microbiolology, will be based in the Microbiology group at Radboud University.

A personalised training programme will be set up, mutually agreed on recruitment, which will reflect the candidate's training needs and career objectives. As part of this training, up to 10% of the candidate's time will be dedicated to assisting in Bachelor's and Master's teaching programmes.

Requirements

For the Geochemistry position, we are seeking a PhD candidate with an MSc degree in earth sciences, environmental sciences or an equivalent degree with demonstrable affinity with (inorganic) geochemistry. Experience in quantitative modeling is helpful, but not a requirement.

For the Microbiology position, we are seeking a PhD candidate with an MSc degree in microbiology or biotechnology. Experience in molecular analysis and bioreactor experiments is helpful, but not a requirement.

Candidates should be interested in performing fundamental, interdisciplinary research in an applied context. We are looking for excellent team players as this project requires close collaboration within the MARIX team and with external (inter)national researchers. Excellent written and spoken English skills are essential.

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Wednesday 24 March 2021