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The role of terrestrial Hg in coastal and open oceans.

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Saturday, February 29, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Biological uptake of inorganic Hg by bacteria (HgII) and monomethylmercury (MMHg) at the base of aquatic food web are critical steps in Hg’s biogeochemical cycle linking its sources to its inherent environmental risk. While primarily smaller dissolved complexes of Hg are available for biological uptake,most of the Hg in soil, sediment and inland waters is bound to particles and larger dissolved complexes. The bioavailability of HgII and MMHg in a natural system is therefore not obvious and, so far, understudied. This project aims to understand availability of HgII and MMHg for biological uptake during transport from land to sea.


Gain improved understanding of the fate and reactivity of terrestrial Hg along land to sea transects by i) applying novel approaches to study refractory concentrations of Hg, ii) study the availability of Hg when complexes to dissolved organic matter (DOM) from terrestrial and marine environments for photochemical and bacterial transformation reactions, and biological uptake (sampling in e.g. Swedish Baltic coast, French Atlantic and Mediterranean coast and Northern Adriatic coasts, within the framework of ESR 4,5,6) and iii) comparison of experimental and field derived data on the availability of Hg-DOM complexes for biological uptake with the biological reactivity of Hg-DOM complexes measured using the biosensors (in collaboration with ESR 5 and 11), Collaboration with ESR 3, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 15

Expected Results

Provide data on refractory concentration of Hg transported from the terrestrial compartment to coastal and open seas on particles and ii) the availability of Hg- and MeHg complexed with DOM extracted from contrasting land-to-sea transects and open ocean. (2 papers)

Planned secondments

Tekran (E. Prestbo), 1 month, training on conventional analytical methods for Hg speciation; IJS/IOS (M.Horvat), 2 months, testing of new biosensor in laboratory setting and to apply biosensors to Hg-DOM extracts from experimental systems (ESR11); Harvard (E. Sunderland), 1 month, consideration of the obtained results in the modelling framework; HZG (C. Schrum, J. Bieser), 1 month, to make use of novel experimental data with models developed by ESR13.

Eligibility Criteria

GMOS-Train is looking for a broad international representation of early stage researchers. The network clearly acknowledges its responsibility for the recruitment of the researchers,
their working and living conditions, as stated in the document “The European Charter for Researchers - Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers”. Gender equality and
minority rights will also be promoted in the selection process. There is no age limit.


The positions are open to all nationalities. However, your application has to comply with the European Commission’s Mobility Rules, meaning that at the time of recruitment you must not have resided or carried out your main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the
country of the host organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the reference date (indicative start of the employment contract, Month Date 2020).
Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account (European Commission’s Guide for Applicants).

Early-stage Researcher (ESR)

In case you have already gained prior work experience in academia, you shall be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of your research career at the
time of recruitment by the host organisation and have not been awarded a doctoral degree. Full-time equivalent research experience is measured from the date when you
obtained the degree entitling you to embark on a doctorate, even if a doctorate was never started or envisaged. Part-time research experience will be counted pro-rata (European
Commission’s Guide for Applicants).

Relevant University Degree

Master’s degree or equivalent in Environmental and Health Science or related fields.

Selection Process

In case an individual researcher is interested in several advertised ESR projects, he/she may apply for a maximum of three specific ESR projects and list their order
of preference.

The selection committee will check applications against the following criteria:

- Scientific background and potential as indicated by candidate experience.
- Fit to a research project.
- Evidence of ability to undertake research.
- Evidence of working within groups or teams.
- Impact and benefit of the proposed training to the candidate’s research career.

Three candidates will be short-listed for each research project and invited to an interview (interviews by video link will be held if candidates are not able to travel).

Interviews will consist of two parts:
1) a short presentation by the candidate followed by questions and answers, and
2) competence-based interview.

How to apply

Please find details about the ESR project descriptions, application process and modalities at

All applications must be submitted by means of on-line application on the official GMOS-Train project website:

Deadline for application is February 29th 2020.

Funding Notes

Prestigious EU fellowship.

Highly competitive and attractive salary and working conditions.

Excellent training programme covering health and environment science and state-of-the-art technologies.

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