PhD Candidate 'Shrub decline instead of shrub expansion in Siberian lowland tundra?'

Nowadays, there is great concern about the effects of climate change on the world's ecosystems. Arctic tundra ecosystems are changing rapidly as the Arctic climate is warming twice as fast as the world average ...

20 dagen geleden

Arbeidsvoorwaarden

Standplaats:
Bornsesteeg, Wageningen, Gelderland
Dienstverband:
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 38 uur
Opleidingsniveau:
WO

Functieomschrijving

Nowadays, there is great concern about the effects of climate change on the world's ecosystems. Arctic tundra ecosystems are changing rapidly as the Arctic climate is warming twice as fast as the world average. Expansion of shrub vegetation has been widely observed in the Arctic landscape, but has recently halted for reasons yet unknown. This project addresses potential shrub decline due to abrupt thaw of ice-rich permafrost (permanently frozen ground). Such local permafrost collapse causes soil subsidence resulting in new open water features, e.g. thaw ponds, in which the pre-existing dwarf shrub vegetation drowns. Thaw of permafrost and the resulting release of carbon dioxide and methane is considered one of the most significant potential feedbacks from terrestrial ecosystems to the climate system.

In this project, the PhD candidate will examine the dynamics and mechanisms of shrub expansion and shrub decline at a remote Siberian lowland tundra site which appears highly sensitive to climate warming. Methodology includes 1) field and remote sensing monitoring of thaw pond and vegetation changes, 2) setting up a novel field experiment to test whether extreme precipitation may trigger abrupt permafrost thaw, and 3) using dendrochronology on drowned dwarf shrubs. We expect that the proposed research on the drivers of shrub decline and expansion in an understudied Arctic region will generate a novel perspective on Arctic landscape changes. A detailed description of the project is available.

Functie-eisen

We are looking for an enthusiastic candidate with an MSc degree in Ecology or Earth Sciences, with a specific interest in Arctic ecosystems. The candidate should be motivated to pursue a scientific career, have knowledge of climate-vegetation-soil interactions and be able to constructively contribute to a long-term international field experiment. Communication skills in English, both verbally and written, should be excellent. Experience in organizing and conducting field work at a remote site under rather primitive conditions would be an asset.

Conditions

We offer a PhD position in principle for a period of 48 months. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended with 30 months if you perform well. Salary will increase from € 2222,- gross per month in the first year up to € 2840,- in the last year, based on a full-time appointment (38 hours per week).

Additional information

Dr. Ir. Monique Heijmans,
Telephone number: +31 (0)317-484167
E-mail address: monique.heijmans@wur.nl
URL: https://www.wageningenur.nl/en/Persons/Monique-Heijmans.htm

Applications for this position should be submitted before 22 September 2017

Please do not send your application directly to Dr. Heijmans.

Bedrijfsomschrijving

The department of Environmental Sciences of Wageningen University provides fundamental research and academic education on our living environment: nature, landscape, land usage, adaptation to climate change, water and ocean management, and the various competing claims on space. This also includes biodiversity and the sustainability of management and production. Wageningen University is part of the Wageningen University and Research Centre concern.

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