University of Otago, New Zealand

Chemistry

Te Tari Hua-Ruanuku

Ph.D. Graduate Student Opportunities in Geochemistry and Paleoceanography

Examining Ancient Anoxia in the Marine Environment

Supervisors: Assoc. Prof. Claudine Stirling (Chemistry) and Dr. Christopher Moy (Geology)

We are seeking two enthusiastic and highly motivated students to undertake Ph.D. projects in isotope geochemistry and paleoceanography.

Today, the world’s oceans are generally oxygenated, but there have been times in the past when warm, ‘super-greenhouse’ climate prevailed and vast expanses of the oceans were devoid of oxygen. The overarching goal of both PhD projects is to use novel geochemical tracers, including redox-sensitive metal isotope systems, to reconstruct the evolution of anoxia during the ‘ocean anoxic events’ of the Mesozoic. These studies will seek to understand the mechanisms driving these extreme events, and will have a direct bearing on future climate system projections, given the recent expansion of anoxic waters that has occurred due to global warming. These projects include opportunities for fieldwork in New Zealand and Europe.

Project 1 will primarily focus on reconstructing the development of anoxia in the poorly understood Proto-Pacific ocean, using newly sampled sedimentary sections from New Zealand.

Project 2 will mainly investigate the development of anoxia in the proto-Tethyan and Atlantic oceans, taking advantage of well-dated sedimentary sections housed at the University of Oxford as well as newly sampled sequences.

These projects will involve clean room chemistry, multiple-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (MC-ICPMS) for the analysis of non-traditional metal stable isotope systems (e.g. U, Mo, Cr and Fe), isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) for the measurement of traditional stable isotope systems (e.g. C, O and S), single-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) for the quantification of elemental concentrations, and other geochemical techniques. A moderate amount of (remote) field work will be required to characterise and sample the New Zealand sedimentary sequences.

Applicants with a strong background in the geosciences, chemistry, physics, or a related quantitative discipline, and with demonstrated academic and research excellence at the Bachelor or Master’s level, are encouraged to apply. The selected candidates will be funded by a competitive University of Otago PhD Scholarship, which includes a 3-year stipend of NZ$ 25,000 per year (tax free and includes a fee waiver), and the NZ Marsden Fund, which includes travel support to national and international conferences, and collaborative research with the University of Oxford and GNS Science (NZ). Both New Zealand and international students are encouraged to apply. The appointments will be split between the departments of Chemistry and Geology and can be begin at any time from March 2014.

The University of Otago is New Zealand’s largest and most research-intensive university and is situated on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island.

Applicants should submit a cover letter, a complete CV (including details of academic transcripts), and the names and contact information of at least two referees in a single pdf file by email to: cstirling@chemistry.otago.ac.nz

Assoc. Prof. Claudine Stirling
Department of Chemistry
University of Otago
P.O. Box 56
Dunedin 9054
New Zealand
Email: cstirling@chemistry.otago.ac.nz

Dr. Christopher Moy
Department of Geology
University of Otago
P.O. Box 56
Dunedin 9054
New Zealand
Email: chris.moy@otago.ac.nz

The positions will remain open until filled.

Further information about the departments of Chemistry and Geology can be found at http://www.otago.ac.nz/chemistry and http://www.otago.ac.nz/geology.