Quantification of C-sink capacity of Arctic marine forests along climatic gradients

Applications are invited for a PhD fellowship/scholarship at Graduate School of Science and Technology, Aarhus University, Denmark, within the Bioscience programme. The position is available from 1 November 2018 or later.

Quantification of C-sink capacity of Arctic marine forests along climatic gradients

Research area and project description:
The PhD project makes part of the research project "Carbon sequestration by Greenland's marine forests in a warming Arctic (CARMA)" funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark. CARMA builds on evidence that macroalgal forests play a substantial role in marine C-sequestration as a large fraction of their production is exported to reach oceanic C-sinks. On this basis CARMA tests the hypothesis that Arctic marine forests support a globally relevant contribution to C-sequestration, which is expected to expand as climate change propels the expansion of these forests in the Arctic. CARMA applies an interdisciplinary approach at the intersection of marine ecology, geology, oceanography, remote sensing (RS), biochemistry and genetics, with Greenland, which comprises 12% of the World’s coastline, as a test case. We use environmental DNA (eDNA), bulk CN isotopes and amino acid isotopes for tracing C from marine forests in sediments collected along Greenland latitudinal gradients. Using field data, upscaled using RS and ocean models, we will develop the first estimate of the C-sink capacity of Arctic marine forests.

The PhD project focuses on fingerprinting carbon from marine forests in Greenland sedimentary C-stocks using eDNA and bulk CN isotope methods. From a library of sediment samples from around Greenland's coast, the PhD candidate will analyse surface samples for latitudinal patterns and deep, dated cores for long-term changes in the contribution of marine forests to the organic C pool. The focus will be on the recent anthropogenic warming period since 1850 when industrialization stimulated the increase in CO2 emissions, coinciding with the first direct reports on Greenland’s marine forests. Current trends in the contribution of kelp to organic C stocks in Greenland marine sediments will also be compared with those retrieved from sediment cores corresponding to the Medieval warm period, ca. 1,000 years ago. The samples will be analysed for eDNA as well as for density, total organic C (TOC), C, N, 13C and 15N of TOC. The interpretation of kelp fingerprints in sediments will be supported by analyses of extant marine vegetation and other possible sources of sediment organic C (plankton, ice algae, land vegetation) using mixing models for interpretation. Upscaling to Greenland scale will be undertaken in collaboration with the CARMA project team e.g. based on RS and ocean models. 

The PhD student will be supervised by senior scientist Dorte Krause-Jensen with professor Carlos M. Duarte as co-supervisor.

Qualifications and specific competences:
Applicants to the PhD position must have a relevant Master’s degree as well as documented experience in eDNA techniques and Arctic marine ecology. Experience with Remote Sensing techniques, required to map kelp beds adjacent to the sediment deposits, will be seen as a further advantage.

Place of employment and place of work:
The place of employment is Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, and the place of work is split between Arctic Research Centre, Aarhus University, Ny Munkegade 114, 8000 Århus C, Denmark, and Department of Bioscience, Vejlsøvej 25, 8600 Silkeborg, Denmark

Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact:

Dorte Krause-Jensen, e-mail dkj@bios.au.dk, tel: +45 61860618. Address: 1Department of Bioscience, Vejlsøvej 25, 8600 Silkeborg, Denmark, 2Arctic Research Centre, Aarhus University, Ny Munkegade 114, 8000 Århus C, Denmark.

Application procedures

Before you apply

Information and attachments:

Please be aware that you must have all relevant appendices, attachments, addresses for referees, etc. ready when you apply, as the entire application must be uploaded to the system in one go.

Documentation of language skills:

The English language requirement at Graduates School of Science and Technology is comparable to an “English B level” in the Danish upper secondary school (“gymnasium”).

English language qualifications comparable to an “English B level” is documented by one of the following tests:

  • TOEFL test, minimum score: 560 (paper-based test) or 83 (internet-based test). The paper-based test must have a “total score”. From August call 2019, GSST no longer accepts the paper-based test.
    Aarhus University does not accept the TOEFL ITP test. Aarhus University’s TOEFL code is 8935. You must request that the test centre send your test results to Aarhus University, in order to enable verification of your test results.
  • IELTS (academic) test, minimum average score: 6.5 points
  • Cambridge English Language Assessment:
    Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency (CPE)
    Cambridge English: Certificate of Advanced English with grade A,B or C (CAE)
    Cambridge English: First Certificate  with grade A (FCE)

When to take the test and how to upload the documentation:
The test result must not be more than two years old at the time of application.

The English language test should be taken before applying for admission and uploaded under “language skills documentation” in the online application form.

It is possible to apply for admission before you have taken the test. In this case documentation stating that you have signed up for a test (please state expected submission date) must be uploaded. If the test result is not part of the original application the test result is to be sent to sphd@psys.au.dk no later than one month after the application deadline.

The following applicants are exempted from documenting their English qualifications/taking a test:

  • Applicants with citizenship from the following countries: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States, or one of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway or Sweden).
  • Applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme completed in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, or United States. In this case, please upload your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma under the section ”Language skills documentation”.
  • Applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme completed at Aarhus University for which the requirement was English B level at the time of admission. In this case, please upload your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma under the section” Language skills documentation”.
  • Applicants able to document that English was the language of instruction during the whole period of their Bachelor’s and/or Master’s programme. This must be documented by uploading an official document from the institution stating this under “language skills documentation”. The onus is on the applicant to provide this information as GSST will not pursue information regarding language of instruction for any programmes or institutions.

 The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.

How to apply:

1)      Find the application form:
Go to http://talent.au.dk/phd/scienceandtechnology/opencalls/
Choose August 2018 Call with deadline 1 August 2018 at 11.59 PM MET.
You will be directed to the call, and must choose the programme 'Bioscience'

2)      Fill in the following information:

  • Personal information
  • Academic background
  • Admission
  • Financing (if any)
  • Study: In the dropdown menu you must choose the project: "Quantification of C-sink capacity of Arctic marine forests along climatic gradients"
  • Source (how you found out about the call)

Next to some of the information fields you will find a number. Click on the number to get further directions on how to fill in the information field/what information is needed.

3)      Application attachments:
Please be aware that you cannot submit the application if one or several of these documents have not been uploaded.

If you wish to upload more than one document under each section, you must scan/merge all documents into one large PDF file and upload this. Please note that we reserve the right to remove scientific papers, large reports, theses and the like. Instead you can indicate a URL where the information is available.

Please note that all information in the application must be in Danish or English.

As a minimum all applications must include (pdf-files only, max. 20 MB, no zip):

  • One reference (template for references)
  • Curriculum vitae,
  • Motivation (max. 1 page)
  • Transcripts and diploma(s)
  • Project description (½-4 pages). For technical reasons, you must upload a project description. When - as here - you apply for a specific project, please simply copy the project description above, and upload it as a PDF in the application. If you wish to, you can indicate an URL where further information can be found. Please note that we reserve the right to remove scientific papers, large reports, theses and the like.
  • Documentation of language skills if required.

After submission of the application, you will receive a confirmation e-mail with an application ID, you should use for reference if needed. The e-mail will also include a link to the application – GSST urges you to check that all mandatory data, marked with an asterisk (*), is registered correctly and all attached files are readable. In case of significant errors, you should reply to the confirmation e-mail with the correct details before the application deadline.

GSST reserves the right to verify the authenticity of your educational diploma and transcripts:

  • Request additional information to verify an application.
  • Reject the application if it is proven, or if the University has reasonable belief, that the information provided is false or if the applicant refuses to provide the requested information, whether or not an offer has already been made. 
  • For further information on applying, assessment procedures, etc. please see the GSST application guide here.  

Please note:

  • The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.

All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background.