PhD position in Water Isotopes and Paleoclimatology

Updated: 3 months ago

Your position

The characterizations of variations in the hydrological cycle on a regional scale is an important task in paleoclimate research. Water isotopes in speleothem fluid inclusion are a powerful proxy for investigating the past water cycle as they are directly related to the isotopic composition of rainfall above the cave. In order to understand the climatic and environmental signals based on water isotopes we need to understand the driving factors of the water isotopes in modern precipitation. For this project, you will initiate a cave drip and precipitation water isotope survey at different cave sites in Switzerland in order to understand their variability, especially related to the source of moisture. You will set up and test a new fluid inclusion extraction line which will be used to apply the speleothem fluid inclusion water isotope paleo-thermometry to Holocene and Pleistocene stalagmites in order to provide quantitative temperature estimates. In addition, you will characterize speleothem fluid inclusions using digital image analyses. The project involves stable isotope analyses (hydrogen, oxygen and carbon) on precipitation, drip water and speleothems that will be performed in the stable isotope laboratory of the Quaternary Geology group. Furthermore, the candidate will have the opportunity to join fieldtrips to Swiss caves.

Your profile

We are looking for a highly motivated and proactive student with a master's degree in geosciences, hydrology, climatology, environmental sciences or related disciplines. Candidates are expected to have background and interest in method development, (paleo-)climatology or geochemistry. Prior experience in stable water isotopes, laser spectroscopy/isotope ratio mass spectrometry techniques or speleothem-based research would be an advantage. Candidates should have strong interest in analytical work, data analyses and interpretation. They should be able to work both independently and within a team. Good communication and written English skills are essential in order to conduct the research and to work within our international team.

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