PhD Studentship - Environmental Sciences

Oct 11, 2017
Oct 31, 2017
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time
Mercury uptake by plants and its role in global mercury cycling

The Environmental Geosciences Group at the University of Basel invites applications for a PhD position in environmental science. Mercury is a global pollutant which cycles through the atmosphere in its gaseous elemental form before being deposited to the earth surface. The uptake of gaseous elemental mercury from the atmosphere by plants represents a potentially large and important deposition pathway to terrestrial ecosystems, which is currently poorly understood.


The Project.

The goal of this PhD project is to quantify the seasonal flux of atmospheric mercury uptake by plants across Europe and to study the implications of this process for global mercury cycling. The project will combine remote sensing with state-of-the-art mercury stable isotope fingerprinting techniques and mercury concentration analysis to address the research goal. Fieldwork in Switzerland and across Europe (Finland, Sweden Germany) will represent an important part. The data acquired during this project will be complemented by observations available in databases to investigate the spatial (regional to continental) and temporal (historical and seasonal) trends in elemental Mercury uptake by plants. A second objective is the effects of climate change (change in temperature, CO2 concentration and precipitation) on plant mercury uptake fluxes.


Your profile.

We are looking for a highly motivated candidate interested in the global cycling of mercury and the interaction of terrestrial ecosystems with the atmosphere. You must hold a MSc degree in environmental sciences, forestry, earth sciences, geography or a related discipline. A strong background in remote sensing and/or analytical chemistry is an asset. A good standard of written and spoken English is required.


We offer.

We offer a multi-disciplinary research project involving emerging Mercury stable isotope and remote sensing techniques and collaborations with national and international partners. The PhD project is embedded in an Ambizione project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) and the student will be advised by Dr.Martin Jiskra and Prof. Christine Alewell (responsible faculty). Salaries corresponding to SNF regulations and funding is secured for 4 years. The position would ideally start early 2018.

Interested candidates should submit a letter of application, a statement of Research interests (max. 1 page), a summary of the master thesis, curriculum vitae and addresses of at least 2 referees as a single pdf as early as possible, but not later than October 31st, 2017.

Questions related to the project and applications should be addressed to

Dr. Martin Jiskra

Environmental Geoscience

University of Basel, Bernoullistrasse 30, CH- 4056 Basel, Switzerland

Submission deadline: October 31st, 2017

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