PhD student position in marine paleoclimatology / paleoecology

Within the framework of the ERC Synergy project SEACHANGE, the Institute of Geosciences (Paleontology group) at the University of Mainz, Germany, invites applications for a PhD student position (temporary appointment) to reconstruct physicochemical properties of the ocean. The University of Mainz has a vibrant campus with over 32,000 students and amongst others hosts the Institute of Geosciences, the Department of Chemistry and two Max Planck Institutes, which are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities.

The ERC Synergy project SEACHANGE, a joint research project of the universities of Exeter, York, Copenhagen and Mainz, aims to quantify the impact of major cultural transitions on marine ecosystem functioning and biodiversity. To distinguish between changes of the physical environment and the human impact (overexploitation of marine resources etc.) that may have altered marine food webs in selected target areas (NW Europe, eastern Australia, west Antarctic Peninsula), the group at Mainz will reconstruct temporal changes of physicochemical properties of the ocean, in particular temperature. For this purpose, a PhD student will measure ?18O and ?13C values, trace and minor elements and microstructures of bivalve shells and foraminifera. Growth patterns in bivalve shells will be used to temporally contextualize the chemical and physical properties (bivalve sclerochronology). Close collaboration with other members of the research team is essential.

Candidate profile:

  • Master or diploma degree (above average grade) in Earth Sciences, Biology, Ecology or Marine Sciences (or related field)
  • Outstanding motivation and enthusiasm
  • Basic knowledge of paleoclimatology, paleoecology, invertebrates and geochemistry. Previous experience with the analysis of growth patterns, geochemical properties and/or microstructure in biological hard tissues is advantageous.
  • Experience with data analysis and statistical methods
  • Computer literacy, in particular, skillful use of MS office package, graphics software etc.
  • Ability and willingness to conduct chemical laboratory work
  • Positive attitude toward field work
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills in English
  • Ability to work independently and self-guided, but likewise within an interdisciplinary research team

The fixed-term appointment will be for a maximum of three years and ideally starts on 1 May 2020. Salary according to E13 TV-L (50-75% position) includes fringe benefits (health insurance etc.). The University of Mainz is an equal opportunity employer. Disabled persons with comparable qualifications receive preferential status.

Interested individuals are invited to submit an application package including a motivation letter explaining why they apply and how they meet the hiring criteria outlined above, CV, copies of certificates (high school, BSc and MSc/diploma), degree transcripts (plus English or German translation) including an explanation of the scoring system, and addresses of at least two referees as a single pdf to Prof. Dr. Bernd R. Schöne,, Institute of Geosciences, University of Mainz, Joh.-J.-Becher-Weg 21, 55128 Mainz, Germany. Application Deadline: 28 Feb 2020. Note, application review will begin immediately. The position will remain open and applications will be reviewed until the position is filled. Further information about the research foci of the Applied and Analytical Paleontology research team can be obtained at

posted: 21 January 2020     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.