Research Associate in Physical Geography

Salary: 33,199 - 39,609 per annum (Grade 6)
Vacancy number: 8669BR

The School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at Cardiff University is a dynamic and successful multi-disciplinary centre devoted to research in the disciplines of Earth and Ocean Sciences.

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Associate (PDRA) position based in Cardiff on a joint project: "Aeolian dust responses to regional ecosystem change" with colleagues at Jornada Experimental Range (JER) / New Mexico State University (NMSU) funded by the USA National Science Foundation (NSF) - UK Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC).

Working with Dr. Adrian Chappell and Dr. Nick Webb and colleagues in the USA, the Cardiff PDRA will develop and apply an existing dynamic dust emission scheme and analyse arising data to quantify the impacts of regional ecosystem changes on North American dust emissions across several scales. The larger project will utilize national ecological monitoring datasets, sensor networks, remote sensing and numerical modeling to characterize how Great Basin, Upper Colorado River Basin and Chihuahuan Desert ecosystems are changing in response to different disturbance mechanisms, identify structural and functional thresholds associated with vegetation state transitions and aeolian processes, and quantify dust emission responses at the regional scale.

The Cardiff PDRA and PhD students in USA will work closely on the impact of:

  • invasive vegetation species and changing fire cycle on vegetation communities and dust emissions in the Great Basin.
  • oil and gas development on regional dust emissions from the Upper Colorado River Basin.
  • grassland-to-shrubland state transitions on aeolian transport and dust emissions across the Chihuahuan Desert.

The PDRA will use their background in aeolian research and specifically skills in coding and environmental satellite remote sensing (ideally within the Google Earth Engine platform) to estimate dust emission. The PDRA will conduct the calibration and validation of dust emission by using provided field measurements, develop the scheme as necessary and then apply the estimates to detect change in the regional USA impacts. The PDRA may have the opportunity to join USA fieldwork in remote dryland sites. In addition to these duties, the PDRA will be expected to produce work of publishable quality for appropriate high-quality, peer-reviewed journals, present papers at national and international meetings and contribute to the development of collaborative research grants. The successful applicant will hold a Ph.D. in Geography or a relevant environment-related subject.

This position is full time (35 hours per week). The post is available from 1st October 2019 and is a fixed-term appointment for 18 months.

Informal enquiries can be made to Dr Adrian Chappell, email:

For further details about working in Cardiff University please contact Briony FitzGerald, email:

To apply, please visit our website:

Closing date: Sunday, 14 July 2019.

Important Notes:

Applications can only be accepted via the online system.

It is the University's policy to use the person specification as a key tool for short-listing. Candidates should evidence that they meet ALL of the essential criteria as well as, where relevant, the desirable. As part of the application process you will be asked to provide this evidence via a supporting statement. Please ensure that the evidence you are providing corresponds with the numbered criteria outlined below. Your application will be considered based on the information you provide under each element.

When attaching the supporting statement to your application profile, please ensure that you name it with the vacancy reference number.

Please be aware that Cardiff University reserves the right to close this vacancy early should sufficient applications be received.

Cardiff University is committed to supporting and promoting equality and diversity and to creating an inclusive working environment. We believe this can be achieved through attracting, developing, and retaining a diverse range of staff from many different backgrounds who have the ambition to create a University which seeks to fulfil our social, cultural and economic obligation to Cardiff, Wales, and the world. In supporting our employees to achieve a balance between their work and their personal lives, we will also consider proposals for flexible working or job share.

posted: 13 June 2019     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.