Thursday, October 17, 2013

Recruiting Master or PhD student for project on Methane emissions from arctic ponds

Laboratory in biooptics and microbial ecology of the INRS-ETE

Methane emissions from arctic ponds
Arctic climate change accelerates permafrost thawing and the mobilisation of carbon (C) stored in frozen soils of the tundra for millennia. This thaw generates thousands of small aquatic systems with diverse limnological and geomorphological properties. Some of these systems emit substantial amounts of greenhouse gases and scientists estimate that these emissions could influence the climate. However, the source and lability of the available organic C, and the microbial communities of these systems influence C exchanges, which are quite variable in space and time, leaving large uncertainties on their potential to influence climate at the planetary scale. Notably, methane emissions through ebullition have been overlooked. Moreover, gas exchange models used to estimate diffusive emissions are inadequate for such small systems. Finally, the emission of old C stored in peat deposits could have a determining influence on climate through a positive feedback, by comparison to C recently fixed by plants, urging for the identification of C sources used by microbes.
The project consist in sampling a series of thaw ponds on Bylot Island, Nunavut, to determine diffusion and ebullition flux, C sources with 14C dating, and the factors influencing the emissions (geomorphology surrounding the ponds, physical structure of the water column and sediment below, C characteristics, CH4 oxidation with stable isotopes, etc.). This multidisciplinary project will be supervised by I. Laurion (limnology, microbial ecology, INRS-ETE) and D. Fortier (geomorphology, U. of Montreal), and is financed by ArcticNet. The student will be highly encouraged to apply to EnviroNorth scholarship program (deadline 15 November,

Start: as soon as possible (January 2014)

The application needs to include a CV, a motivation letter, the university transcripts and 2 letters of recommendation.
A good knowledge of biology and biogeochemical cycles will be an asset.

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