PhD position at the Vienna International School of Earth and Space Sciences (VISESS) - Microplastics as Anthropocene markers and proxies for sediment connectivity in fluvial systems
The Vienna International School of Earth and Space Sciences (VISESS) is soliciting applications for PhD positions within the Faculty of Earth Sciences, Geography and Astronomy at the University of Vienna.
As humanity is facing grand challenges such as climate change and resource depletion, this doctoral school is addressing these and other challenges through interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary academic research connecting the COSMOS with planet EARTH, its environment and the ANTHROPOSPHERE. We aim our students to become world-leading experts in either of these three branches while also confidently communicate and contribute across all three branches. We want our school to become a central place in the heart of Europe for training and as a resource of knowledge about our place in space and time. For further information see: https://visess.univie.ac.at.
The school is currently announcing two PhD projects in the fields of Cosmos, Earth and Anthroposphere, including the following position:
University assistant predoctoral: Microplastics as Anthropocene markers and proxies for sediment connectivity in fluvial systems
Supervision: Prof. Dr. Michael Wagreich, Prof. Dr. Daniel Le Heron (both Department of Geology) and Dr. Ronald Pöppl (Department of Geography and Regional Research), in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Andreas Stohl, Dr. Silvia Bucci (both Department of Meteorology and Geophysics) and Dr. Veronika Koukal (Department of Geology)
Funding type: fully-funded
Plastic pollution is recognized as a major environmental threat and a new class of particle transported by by various geomorphic agents (water, wind). Microplastic has become a hot emerging topic, accumulating in sedimentary archives, thus providing a widespread marker for the Anthropocene. Detailed studies on microplastics in sediments from source to sinks in fluvial-atmospheric systems are largely missing. Objectives of the project are i) to investigate the amount, distribution and age of microplastics in selected fluvial systems, ii) to relate changes in sediment connectivity (e.g. by land use/management, dams, high-magnitude (hydro-)meteorological events) to changes in microplastics in the record (proxy approach), and iii) to investigate contemporary microplastic loadings in soils and rivers and relate them to key input sources and related process dynamics (i.e. via modelling atmospheric transport, water- and wind-mediated erosion, transport and deposition of sediment/microplastic). The study is based on two neighbouring medium-sized catchment systems in Lower Austria (Thayatal National Park). The upper and middle reaches of both systems are dominated by agricultural land use, soil erosion and related high rates of lateral sediment input, as well as widely engineered river channels, while the lower reaches exhibit near-natural forest cover and river conditions. Methods will include the use of a FT-IR-microscope for microplastics attribution (Bruker-LumosII) as well as of the FGGA-(IP-)funded water, sediment and climate monitoring station located in the Fugnitz River. Expected outcomes are detailed case studies on behavior of microplastic in catchment systems.
Your future tasks:
You actively participate in research, teaching & administration, which means:
This is part of your personality:
What we offer:
It is that easy to apply: