Links between productivity, flow paths and hotspots/ moments (ESR project No. 9)

   Department of Life Sciences

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  Prof Anne Robertson, Dr J Reiss  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

University of Roehampton (UR) in London, UK, is offering one fully funded PhD student position within the EU-funded Innovative Training Network (ITN) HypoTRAIN (Hyporheic Zone Processes – A training network for enhancing the understanding of complex physical, chemical and biological process interactions,

The student will measure HZ protozoan and micro-metazoan metabolic activity/productivity at the same time and scale as the characterization of biogeochemical conditions and flow paths. He/she will determine the relationship between metabolic activity and productivity and reactive hot spots/moments and flow paths in the focus sites and in a controlled flume setting. He/ she will also examine protozoan-micro-metazoan grazing on N microbes, and assess the implications for grazing rates. The student will be supervised by Anne Robertson & Julia Reiss (UR) and co-supervised by Tom Battin (University of Lausanne). He/she will undertake secondments at Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, University of Birmingham, University of Lausanne and Ben-Gurion University.

The programme: EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks (ITNs) aim to improve career perspectives of early stage researchers (ESRs) in both public and private sectors, thereby making research careers more attractive for young people. They aim to promote transnational work and networking within a partnership of public and private enterprises in the research field. In particular, ITNs aim to add to the employability of the recruited researchers by facilitating experience in both academia and enterprises. Thereby, the traditional academic research training is extended and cultural and other mobility barriers are reduced.

Project Description: Hyporheic zones are key compartments for the functioning of aquatic ecosystems. As dynamic and complex transition regions between rivers and aquifers, they are characterized by the simultaneous occurrence of multiple physical, biological and chemical processes. Turnover and degradation of nutrients and pollutants are among the prominent ecological services the hyporheic zone provides. We are facing a significant knowledge gap in the understanding of how hyporheic processes are linked and how they impact on each other. This can be attributed to a lack of truly supra-disciplinary research and harmonized and innovative investigation methods.
The concept of HypoTRAIN has been tailored to fill this gap. Collaborative research with state-of-the-art technologies from multiple disciplines (hydrology, ecology, microbiology, engineering, environmental physics, contaminant science, modelling) will generate new mechanistic insights into the functioning of hyporheic zones. A group of PhD students will be educated using the multi-faceted nature of hyporheic zones as the central theme of the training programme. The supra-disciplinary expertise within the network and the high-level training programme will generate scientific knowledge that will set the ground for a more holistic design of river management plans and restoration measures. Research excellence as well as scientific and technological innovation is ensured as all partners have world-leading reputations and work at the forefront of their respective discipline areas.

• By the time of recruitment by the host organisation, candidates must not have received a doctorate or equivalent.
• By the time of recruitment by the host organisation, candidates must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of their research career. Full-time research experience is measured from the date when a researcher obtained the degree which formally entitled him or her to embark on a doctorate, either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the researcher is recruited or seconded, irrespective of whether or not a doctorate is or was ever envisaged.
• Because the Marie Curie schemes are designed to encourage researcher mobility, there is a mobility criterion for recruitment: By the time of recruitment by the host organisation, researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the U.K. for more than twelve months in the last three years. Short stays, such as holidays, are not included.
• Candidates must be available to start the position at 1st June 2015 at the latest.

Qualifications: We are seeking candidates with a M.Sc. in Biological Sciences, Ecology, Environmental Sciences, Ecohydrology, or other closely related disciplines. Excellent English skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing are also required. If English is not your first language, nor the language in which you received your education, please note that University Regulations require research students to meet a minimum level of English Language proficiency, which is currently IELTS 7.0 overall (minimum 6.5 in all bands) or Pearsons PTE 67 overall (minimum 61 in all categories).

The closing date for completed applications is: Monday 2 March 2015. Interviews will be held on: 25th March 2015.

Funding Notes

The successful candidate will be employed for three years and receive a generous financial package plus an additional mobility allowance according to the rules for Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) in an EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Innovative Training Networks (ITN) UR will also cover full-time home/EU fees for three years, subject to satisfactory progress.

Salary: €52,095.96 pa inclusive of living and mobility allowance. €6,000/pa family allowance may also be payable subject to funding conditions. On appointment the salary will be paid in GBP, and will be subject to deductions


References: Battin, T.J., et al.2003 Nature 426, no. 6965: 439-42. Milner A.M., Robertson A.L., et al. 2013 Nature Climate Change 3: 137-141. Reiss, J., et al. 2010 Ecology 91: 497-507. Robertson A.L. & Wood, P.J. 2010 Fundamental and Applied Limnology 176: 279-289.

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