PhD Position: Miocene Climate Variations, Belgium

We are looking for a highly motivated individual with an MSc (or equivalent degree) in geology, geobiology or biology, and with a strong interest in the Neogene. Research activities will include microscopy and biogeochemical analyses. A background in palynology, micropalaeontology and/or biogeochemistry is an advantage. Fluency in spoken and written English is required. Candidates should be able to work independently and in a team.

The successful candidate will be offered a full-time Ph.D. position for four years in the research project. The applicant must be eligible for PhD studies and will enrol in the Doctoral School Program of Ghent University. The candidate shall devote his or her time primarily to their own research studies.

Miocene climate variations — the marine and terrestrial biotic response during key periods.

Research subject — A stepwise, global cooling of the climate occurred during Miocene times. These punctuated cooling events are known as the Mi-events and lasted only for a few 100 k.y. The Mi-events had a drastic effect on marine primary producers and on terrestrial ecosystems. The proposed research intends to elucidate on a very detailed level the tempo and mode of the effects of the global cooling events on an important marine primary producer such as dinoflagellates, and to assess to what degree the biotic responses in the terrestrial and marine realm are or are not in phase. The study areas are the Porcupine Basin (IODP Leg 307) off southwestern Ireland and the Ceara Rise off Brazil (ODP Leg 154). A very high sample resolution (10 k.y. and less) is intended. The micropaleontological data will be validated against biogeochemical proxies such as the TEX86 and the unsaturation index UK’37 (proxies for paleotemperatures) and the BIT index (a proxy for the relative amount of soil and marine organic matter input in the depositional area).

Scholarship Deadline: 2011-02-01

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