Research Assistant in Marine Biogeochemical Cycling

Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol (GB)
11 Jun 2018
End of advertisement period
24 Jun 2018
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

The Bristol Isotope Group in the School of Earth Sciences at Bristol is inviting applications for a Research Assistant to work on the ERC grant PAst Links in the Evolution of Ocean’s Global ENvIronment and Ecology (PaleoGENIE). The basis of the project is the recognition that in the ocean, the interaction between species, and their chemical and physical environment is intimately two-way – the surface biogeochemical environment modulates the makeup of the pelagic ecosystem, yet at the same time, the ecosystem assemblage, by setting the strength of the biological pump and ultimately, in regulating the carbon and nutrient inventory of the ocean and atmospheric CO2, influences the ocean geochemical environment.

Feedbacks, both negative and positive, must therefore exist between plankton ecology and global biogeochemical cycles. PALEOGENiE is directly addressing these challenges via the development of a unique coupled model of past plankton ecology and global biogeochemical cycles.

Diatoms are siliceous organisms that are responsible for almost half of the carbon export in the oceans. This group also have an absolute requirement for dissolved silicon as they produce cell walls from silica or opal, resulting in an inherent link between marine silicon, carbon cycling and climate. The aims of this position are to: 1) calibrate the intermediate complexity model cGENIE for the silicon cycle, incorporating silicon dissolved concentrations, silicon isotopes, and biogenic opal; 2) add a diatom functional group to PaleoGENIE; 3) test scenarios across major climatic events in Earth history to investigate silicon cycle changes.

The successful candidate will have an in depth knowledge of the silicon cycle and silicon isotopes, global-scale marine modelling experience, and experience in working model-data analysis. Applicants must have a Masters degree in a relevant subject, including geology, environmental geosciences, or geography. We are looking for candidates who can demonstrate excellent communication skills, experience in working as part of a research project, and proven ability to work independently with the ability to take initiative, develop research methodologies and methods of data analysis.

The position will start in early August 2018, and funding is available for 9 months (ending April 2019).

For informal enquiries please contact Dr. Kate Hendry (

Please note that interviews for this position will take place in late July 2018.

The University is committed to creating and sustaining a fully inclusive culture. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds and communities.