Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Ph.D. and M.S. position at University of Alaska Fairbanks

Glacier-permafrost-hydrology interactions

Effect of glacier wastage on sub-arctic hydrology and permafrost

The Water and Environmental Research Center (WERC), and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), in collaboration with the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) Fairbanks and the Geophysical Institute at UAF, are seeking two graduate students to perform: a) hydrologic modeling and field measurements (Ph.D. student) and b) geochemical modeling and field measurements (M.S. student) of a glacierized catchment underlain by discontinuous permafrost. The Ph.D. position at WERC includes numerical model simulations using the physically based hydrologic model WaSiM, downscaled climate model scenarios and field measurements in order to assess what role glacier wastage play on lowland hydrology and permafrost in the Jarvis Creek (approx.150 km southeast of Fairbanks) and Tanana River basins, in Interior Alaska. The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry M.S. position focuses on analyzing the variation of contributing sources and dominating flow pathways in the Jarvis Creek watershed using geochemical tracers. Both positions include multiple field trips to perform glacier, snow, meteorological, hydrological and geochemical measurements.
We seek motivated candidates with a B.S./M.S. degree in hydrology, geosciences/physical geography, physics, chemistry, engineering, or related fields. Experience with field work, hydrological modeling, GIS, glaciology and programming (Ph.D. position) or geochemistry (M.S. position) is desirable. Good oral and written communication skills are a prerequisite.

Employment will start by the earliest possible date, but no later than the spring semester (Jan 2014). Screening of applications will start as soon as possible and the position will be open until filled. US citizen, US residents as well as international applicants are welcomed.

Applicants are required to submit a complete application to the appropriate graduate program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. However, we recommend that you first contact us and submit via email the following information preferably in a single pdf: (1) a cover letter stating your motivation for graduate studies and the particular project, (2) a CV including contact information of three referees, and (3) transcripts of your academic record.

For more information about the project and its positions, please visit the Jarvis Creek webpage:http://ine.uaf.edu/werc/projects/jarvis/Default.aspx

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

USGS: Inaugural Student Geologic Map Competition

The U.S. Geological Survey is hosting the inaugural Best Student Geologic Map Competition. This competition is open to university-level students and entries will be judged at the 125th Annual Geological Society of America Meeting held in Denver, CO from October 27th through 30th 2013. A judging panel will select three winners during a special session convened on October 29th, 2013. The special session will double as a networking hour for students to share their experiences and techniques.

The competition is open to all students at any level of their academic career (B.S., M.S., or Ph.D.) who have created a geologic map through recent field work.
Along with being publicly recognized at the meeting, winning students will receive field tools such as a Brunton Compass or rock hammer, and will be given the opportunity to publish their map in the Student Edition of the Journal of Maps.

Each map should stand on its own without explanation by the student author, and the competition website defines the specific judging criteria for the Best Student Geologic Map Competition. Students should contact the official U.S. Geological Survey representative by September 6th, 2013 to be considered for the 2013 competition.

This event is hosted by The US Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program (NCGMP) in partnership with The Geological Society of America (GSA), GSA Foundation, Association of American State Geologists (AASG), American Geosciences Institute (AGI), American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG), and the Journal of Maps. This event is being cross-promoted by the American Geosciences Institute as part of "Geologic Map Day" for the 2013 "Mapping Your World" Earth Science Week. Details about Earth Science Week can be found at: www.earthsciweek.org.

For complete competition details visit:

PhD student positions in the Department of Geography at McGill University and in the Département de géographie at the Université de Montréal

We are seeking two highly motivated PhD students to study aqueous and evasive carbon fluxes in the discontinuous permafrost zone of western Canada using various laboratory and field techniques. The positions are located in the Department of Geography at McGill University or Département de géographie at the Université de Montréal and are part of a Fonds québecois de la recherche sur la nature et les technologies (FQRNT)-funded project “Vers une meilleure comprehension du transport aqueux et évasif du carbone dans un paysage forêt-tourbière en zone de pergélisol discontinue en dégradation rapide” (2013-2016). The positions are open immediately. The project provides student stipends of $15,000 CAD/yr for four years. Additional sources of funding include university fellowships, research assistantships, and teaching assistantships at McGill University and the Université de Montréal, and FQRNT and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council graduate student scholarships (deadlines are in October 2013).

The project builds on ongoing multidisciplinary work conducted within the Scotty Creek watershed near Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories (
http://g.co/maps/gxvnt). The watershed is located within the discontinuous permafrost zone and is dominated by raised peat plateaus (underlain by permafrost) and bogs (permafrost-free) that drain into a network of permafrost-free fens. The watershed-scale hydrological functioning of these peatlands is well characterized due to a decade-long period of extensive field measurements and surveys. The main findings have revealed an increase in active-layer thickness and continued permafrost degradation. However, no knowledge exists on the implications of these findings on peatlands’ ecophysiological and biogeochemical functioning. The goal of the project is to better define the aqueous and evasive transport of carbon at Scotty Creek under the influence of permafrost degradation.

The project is part of an NSERC-funded research program “Influence of changing active-layer thickness on PERmafrost PeatLand trace gas EXchanges and carbon balance (PERPLEX)” (2012-2016). The central component of PERPLEX is eddy covariance measurements of net methane, carbon dioxide, water vapour and energy exchanges between the permafrost landscape and the atmosphere. The two PhD students will complement these ecosystem-scale measurements by
1) quantifying land cover-specific (peat plateaus, bogs, and fens) temporal patterns (snowmelt, summer, autumn) in aqueous carbon (particulate, dissolved, gaseous) and total dissolved nitrogen concentrations and exports and by determining the rates of dissolved organic carbon production of differing organic materials such as litter and peat from plateaus, bogs and fens (ideally based McGill University).
2) measuring the temporal pattern (snowmelt, summer, autumn) of evasive methane and carbon dioxide emissions from different surface water bodies (lakes, collapse scars, collapse scars, fens, and hydrological connections between collapse bogs) to quantify their potential contributions to ecosystem-scale net carbon dioxide and methane exchanges as “seen” by the eddy covariance systems (ideally based at the Université de Montréal).

Ideal applicants for the PhD student positions have
1) a strong quantitative and technical background obtained through a Master’s or Diploma degree in geosciences, meteorology, environmental science, ecology, physics etc.
2) had previous exposure to some aspects of the project, such as hydrology/ecology/biogeochemistry, water chemistry.
3) some wilderness outdoor experience (remoteness of the site!) as the project requires frequent traveling to and extended stays at the site (seasonal field camp consists of basic tents and needs to be accessed by float plane or helicopter in the snow-free period).
4) the ability to work independently and effectively as part of a team setting consisting of researchers from various Canadian universities (Université de Montréal, McGill University, Wilfrid Laurier University, University of Guelph).
5) proficiency in English (the Université de Montréal is a francophone research university, so knowledge of French is of great advantage but not mandatory).

Please email questions regarding the PhD student positions/admission process and application packages consisting of cover letter, curriculum vitae (including a list of publications/presentations), an English writing sample (ideally a publication), copies of academic credentials, and names and contact information of at least two referees to:

Tim.moore *at* mcgill.ca and oliver.sonnentag *at* umontreal.ca

The review of applications will commence immediately until the PhD student positions are filled.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Aqueous alteration of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in asteroids and meteorites

Please apply before October 1st, 2013

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) have been detected in a wide range of environments, starting from the interstellar medium (ISM) where they are formed in situ, to solar system objects, such as meteorites. However, the PAHS detected in the interstellar medium are much larger (up to C50 and C60) then the compounds found in meteorites. For at least two carbonaceous chondrites (Allende and Murchison) it has been suggested that the PAHs present in these meteorites predate their formation, so are likely to originate from the ISM. Very recently a survey was performed on what are the one hundred mineralogical questions impacting the future of Earth, planetary, and environmental sciences. One of the questions listed here was "What role, if any, have minerals played in the diversity of organic matter in carbonaceous asteroids?" Closely related to this question is the effect of water in this context. For example, it has been suggested that amino acids could be synthesized in carbonaceous chondrites by aqueous alteration of PAHs. Metasomatism, the chemical alteration of a rock by hydrothermal fluids is also suggested to play a large role in meteoritic alteration. This process is so far mainly studied in the context of the mineralogy of chondritic meteorites. However, this hydrothermal alteration could also significantly affect the PAH content of these chondrites. If we assume that indeed some of the PAH material found in meteorites originates from the ISM, then it is likely that the large C50, C60 compounds are incorporated in meteorites as well. These
have, however, never been detected. This project focuses on the key question if aqueous alteration could be mechanism to break down the larger PAHs into smaller PAHs and other organic compounds that are detected in meteorites. The primary goal of this proposal – that comprises a 4-year PhD project - is to experimentally investigate the effect of water and high temperature on PAHs embedded in meteoritic mineral matrices. Our experiments will focus on the interaction between PAHs and water, PAHs and minerals, and PAHs and minerals and water under different temperature conditions.

Requirements are a broad interest in geosciences, chemistry, and astronomy and a willingness to interact across scientific disciplines. We are looking for an enthusiastic person with a background in experimental and analytical methods relevant to this research – specifically, Raman spectroscopy and scanning/transmission electron microscopy techniques. While students work on their own PhD projects, good interaction with others in the group will be key to success.

Please contact Dr. ten Kate at i.l.tenkate@uu.nl, with cc to Prof. Tielens (tielens@strw.leidenuniv.nl) and Dr. Plümper (O.Plumper@uu.nl), for more information and to obtain a full description of the project. This description can also be found on www.ingeloes.com/jobs.