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Understanding vegetation response to fire during glacial and interglacial states.

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, March 01, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Fire is highly sensitive to changes in climate, which affects both fuel availability and on the suitability of conditions allowing fire spread. Changes in fire regime in turn affect vegetation structure and dynamics, and both changes in fire itself and fire-induced changes in vegetation have feedbacks through the carbon cycle on climate. However, the magnitude of these feedbacks is as yet poorly constrained. The goal of this project is to explore how fire has changed during past climate states, how this has impacted vegetation, and how these changes may have affected the carbon cycle using sedimentary charcoal records of past fire regime, advanced statistical analysis, and fire modelling tools. The project will draw on an existing global compilation of sedimentary charcoal records (Global Charcoal Database) to analyse the controls on fire in warm, interglacial and cold glacial climates over the past 130,000 years. Model simulations using a fire-enabled vegetation model will be used to explore the potential causes of these changes and their implications for fire emissions and carbon-cycle feedbacks.

Please submit an application for a PhD in Environmental Science at:

Funding Notes

This PhD position is fully-funded by the ERC project “GC2.0: Unlocking the past for a clearer future”

The ideal candidate for this project would have a Masters in an appropriate science, good programming and numerical skills, an understanding of the mechanisms of past climate change, and an interest in applying palaeoclimate information to improve our understanding of biosphere dynamics. Good team and communication skills are essential.

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