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POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP, TWO YEARS, IN MERCURY BIOGEOCHEMISTRY

Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology

POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP, TWO YEARS, IN MERCURY BIOGEOCHEMISTRY

Last day to Apply: January 28th

Apply here: https://www.umu.se/en/work-with-us/fellowships-and-grants/6-2482-18/

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PROJECT DESCRIPTION

You will study processes for formation and bioaccumulation of methylmercury in oxygen deficient coastal seas. The research will focus on molecular level studies on how chemical speciation and bioavailability of mercury vary across pelagic redoxclines. The studies will be carried out in the Baltic Sea region, but the findings from the project will be applicable to many coastal and marine ecosystems.

Neurotoxic methylmercury accumulates in aquatic biota and mercury is considered one of the top ten chemicals of public health concern. Oxygen deficiency is spreading in coastal waters and the global ocean as one dramatic symptom of anthropogenic pollution and ecosystem perturbations. At oxygen deficient conditions redox stratifications and pelagic redoxclines can form in the water column. Our mechanistic understanding on how pelagic redoxclines impact methylmercury formation, flux and exposure to biota is however insufficient. We will combine key competences in mercury biogeochemistry and molecular biology and use recently developed state-of-the-art methodologies to resolve these long-term outstanding research questions.

The post doc will conduct field sampling campaigns in the Baltic Sea, incubation experiments and chemical analyses of mercury and thiol compounds, and of sulfide. Focus will be on characterizing how the chemical speciation of mercury and formation of methylmercury vary across pelagic redoxclines. Mercury and thiol compounds will be analyzed by GC-ICPMS and LC-ESIMS/MS techniques, respectively. Results from the spectroscopic measurements will be combined with thermodynamic and kinetic modeling to understand in detail mercury interactions with thiols and sulfide, and to identify molecular mechanisms in control of mercury availability for methylation. The impact of pelagic redoxclines on methylmercury accumulation in plankton will also be studied.

Within the fellowship you will: (i) continuously be updated on the scientific literature of the research field, (ii) formulate scientific objectives and hypotheses within the project, (iii) plan and conduct advanced field sampling campaigns, laboratory experiments and thermodynamic and kinetic modeling, (iv) compile and interpret results, (v) present results in oral seminars (including at international conferences) and as scientific publications.

The post doc fellowship is funded by the foundation "Carl Tryggers Stiftelse för Vetenskaplig Forskning" (CTS 18: 41). The project is fully funded and will be conducted in close collaboration with a post doc in microbial biogeochemistry and with a multi-disciplinary team of scientists in analytical chemistry, biogeochemistry and microbial molecular biology at Umeå University (Assoc. Prof. Erik Björn), Stockholm University (Dr. Anne Soerensen), Uppsala University (Prof. Stefan Bertilsson) and Linnaeus University (Prof. Jarone Pinhassi).

The fellowship is full-time for a period of two years and amounts to 276 000 SEK per year. Starting date is 1st of May 2019 or at a date decided in agreement between the two parties that allows the postdoc to participate in summer field campaigns during 2019.

QUALIFICATIONS

The required qualification is a doctoral degree, or a foreign degree that is deemed equivalent, in biogeochemistry or equivalent field. To be eligible the degree should have been completed a maximum of three years before the end of the application period unless certain circumstances exist. The doctoral degree should preferably be focused on mercury biogeochemistry. Experience of field sampling campaigns, GC-ICPMS and/or LC-MS techniques, and/or work with thermodynamic modeling is meriting.

The successful candidate must have a very good command of written and spoken English. You should be enthusiastic and determined, like experimental research, be precise, and be able to conduct research both independently and in a group.

APPLICATION

A complete application, written in Swedish or English, should contain the following documents:

  • A cover letter including a description of your qualifications, research interests and motivation for applying, and your contact information (maximum 2 pages)

  • A curriculum vitae, including a publication list

  • Copies of your PhD thesis and maximum 5 relevant publications (pdf files)

  • Copies of doctoral degree certificate or equivalent and other relevant degree certificates, including documentation of completed academic courses and obtained grades

  • Name and contact information of at least two reference persons

  • Other relevant documents you wish to claim

Your complete application, marked with reference number FS 2.1.6-2482-18 should be sent in PDF format to medel@diarie.umu.se (with reference number on the subject line) no later than 28th Jan 2019.

For more information please contact Assoc. Prof. Erik Björn, phone: +4690-7865189, email: erik.bjorn@umu.se

INFORMATION ABOUT THE DEPARTMENT

Department of Chemistry is the largest department in the Faculty of Science and Technology, with approximately 200 employees, including about 40 doctoral students, and with a strong and expanding research. Three major areas of research; Biological Chemistry, Environmental and Biogeochemistry and Technical Chemistry, represents the research and chemistry education of our department. We are also a strong partner in KBC, The Chemical-Biological Centre.