Postdoctoral Position

1 Postdoctoral position available at Khalifa University, Dept. of Earth Sciences in Terrestrial Sedimentology and Geochemistry

The Department of Earth Sciences at Khalifa University of Science and Technology, Abu Dhabi is seeking highly motivated applicants for a Postdoctoral position for the Project entitled Understanding the impact of Climate Change and Volcanism on Early Jurassic Flora and the continental Sedimentary Record, in the Southern Hemisphere.

Project Description: The Early Jurassic was subject to major disturbances to the global carbon cycle, associated with the emplacement of the Karoo-Ferrar large igneous province (LIP). These perturbations are recorded in the carbon-isotope composition of terrestrial and marine organic matter and carbonate as carbon-isotope excursions. Karoo-Ferrar intrusive and extrusive volcanism is thought to have been the primary driver of massive ecological and environmental disturbances including pulsed releases of isotopically light carbon into the atmosphere; global warming; oceanic anoxia; intensified wildfire activity and weathering; methane clathrate dissociation and possibly iron fertilization of the oceans. Although significant research has been conducted on the Early Jurassic marine record, there are significant gaps in our understanding of the terrestrial response close to the main LIP. Here we propose to examine continental sediments and fossil plants from Argentina, Tasmania and South Africa to elucidate on environmental and ecological responses due to LIP activity

Project Objectives:

  1. Reconstruct carbon cycle perturbations during the Early Jurassic from bulk organic carbon isotopes and compound specific carbon isotopes in paleosols, palustrine and lacustrine sediments in geochronologically well constrained continental localities in the southern hemisphere
  2. Evaluate how plants deposited in Early Jurassic sediment record/respond to volcanism in Gondwana from Chon Aike, Dufek, Ferrar and Karoo, through petrography, carbon isotopes and elemental analysis of coal and fossil plant samples.
  3. Examine how intrusive in the Karoo province interact with the sediment they are intruding in to.
  4. Determine how contact metamorphism may impact the terrestrial sediments it is intruding and contribute to biogeochemical cycle perturbation, either through carbon or another element degassing or weathering.
  5. Explore the possible role of extrusive volcanism on the environment. Identify possible pollen mutagenesis, elemental or novel isotope evidence of the impact of extrusive volcanism if any on the environment in the Early Jurassic.
  6. Explore the role of an intensified hydrological cycle, increased weathering and forest fires and greenhouse or icehouse climate resulting from intrusive or extrusive.
  7. Reconstruct models of carbon perturbations in the Early-Middle Jurassic associated with volcanism, evaluating the source of carbon and the sink.


Candidate should have a PhD in Earth sciences, geosciences, geology or a related field. Candidates with appropriate experience in soil science, biology, environmental science or geography will also be considered.

Ability to undertake fieldwork in remote localities as part of an international team is a key component of the project.

Candidates will be expected to be highly motivated and able to work independently in a laboratory setting and to travel to work with external partners on the project. Candidates are expected to have previous experience working with stable isotope mass spectrometry specifically organic carbon isotopes on sediments and/or fossil plants. Experience of novel isotopes, geochronology, astrochronology, paleobotany and biomarkers will also be looked upon favorably.

Applicants should email Dr. Aisha Al Suwaidi ( for additional details.

Applications can be made online through the following portal:

Position number IRC38492

posted: 22 August 2019     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.