The 500 km long Serra da Mantiqueira range in south-eastern Brazil creates very favorable conditions for the formation of massive cumulonimbus clouds that produce rainstorms, hail and lightning. These phenomena can have serious effects on the main agricultural productions of this region such as coffee, citrus and bio-fuel sugarcane. Aerosols emitted from land-cover can catalyze or limit these atmospheric phenomena depending on their characteristics (ice nuclei and cloud condensation nuclei) and abundance. In many cases, these aerosols are microbial cells or debris (bacteria and fungi) that can also have impacts on plant health. Balloon flights are also scheduled in order to analyze possible source dispersion and bio ice nuclei flux calculations.
Funded by the São Paulo Research Foundation, the research project on “Primary Biological Aerosol Particles: Sampling and modeling in Southern Brazil to improve climate models” led by Dr. Fabio Gonçalves from the Institute of Astronomy, Geophysics and Atmospheric Sciences of the University of São Paulo's (IAG-USP), Brazil seeks to assess the emission rates of these bio-aerosols from agricultural land-cover in the states of Minas Gerais and São Paulo to improve model predictions of cloud behavior.
We have funding for a post-doctoral researcher – with experience in environmental microbiology and familiarity with principles of atmospheric physics, specially micrometeorology – to characterize the emissions of bioaerosols and (particularly) biological ice-nucleating particles (INPs) in relation to land use and farming practices in experimental sites distributed between the states of Minas Gerais and São Paulo. Data will used to improve cloud modeling (including cloud microphysics schemes) in another part of the project.
The postdoc main aim will be to assess land use impact (coffee, Brachiaria spp., Eucalyptus and indigenous trees of forest restoration) as sources of biological INPs and how their abundance is influenced by factors such as seasons and different agricultural practices. The study includes measuring the flow of biological INPs influenced by the mechanized harvesting of coffee and other crops and by forest restoration practices, in particular.
This is a multidisciplinary project that will be carried out through cooperation between five reseearch institutions and universities in Brazil and other collaborators in INRA (France), Lund University (Sweden), CNR (Italy), Aarhus University (Denmark) representing expertise in atmospheric physics, meteorology, microbiology, molecular biology, astrobiology, environmental engineering and cloud modeling.
This opportunity is open to candidates of any nationalities. The selected candidate will receive a FAPESP’s Post-Doctoral fellowship in the amount of R$ 7,373.10 monthly and a research contingency fund, equivalent to 15% of the annual value of the fellowship which should be spent in items directly related to the research activity.
More information about the fellowship is at: fapesp.br/oportunidades/3843 .
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