[ES_JOBS_NET] Graduate opportunities – Interactions between fire and permafrost on peatland hydrology and biogeochemistry.
olefeldt at ualberta.ca
Fri Sep 12 15:16:58 MDT 2014
*Graduate opportunities – Interactions between fire and permafrost on
peatland hydrology and biogeochemistry. *
The Taiga Plains Research Network (http://taigaplains.ca/
) is looking for a number of motivated graduate students (MSc or PhD) to
work on complementary projects on the interaction between wildfire and
permafrost on peatland hydrology, soil thermal regimes and biogeochemistry.
Permafrost thaw is currently affecting large areas of peatlands in boreal
western Canada, a region which also experienced an exceptional fire season
in 2014 – which is in agreement with projections of future fire regimes. In
order to improve our understanding of the influence of peatlands on water
resources, water quality and climate change feedback mechanisms through
greenhouse gases, it is thus important to consider interactions between
fire and permafrost thaw. The following positions are currently available
at University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, supervised by Dr. David
Olefeldt at the department of Renewable Resources:
*1. Effects of fire on permafrost stability in peatlands – a chronosequence
*Project description*: Both hydrology and carbon cycling in boreal
peatlands is strongly affected by permafrost conditions. It is known from
peat archives that peatland fires, common in western Canada, has the
potential to trigger permafrost thaw – but it is not known which mechanisms
that are responsible, what time frames that are involved or what the
resulting rates of thaw are (both vertical and lateral). These questions
may be addressed though a chronosequence approach, where permafrost
conditions and soil thermal regimes in several nearby peatland sites are
studied – but where sites differ in their time since fire (1 - >50 years).
There is potential to combine field work with GIS approaches. Field work
will be carried out in the vicinity of Fort Simpson, in the Northwest
Qualifications: BSc or MSc in physical geography or related field.
Willingness to work in remote locations. Driver’s license. GIS experience
*2. Carbon cycling in permafrost peatlands after fire*
*Project description:* I am seeking a motivated student with interests in
soil science and greenhouse gas exchange between land and atmosphere. Work
will focus on soil respiration, with work done both in field and lab
experiments, and potentially linked to isotope work. The central question
is whether wildfire triggers the mineralization and release of carbon
previously stored inert in frozen peat layers. Field work would be located
in recently burned peatlands in southern Northwest Territories.
Qualifications: BSc or MSc in biology, physical geography or related field.
Willingness to work in remote locations.
*3. Export and fate of terrestrial DOC in peatland catchments.*
Project description: Export of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) from
peatlands is an important component of terrestrial ecosystem carbon
balances. Exported DOC is also a main source of energy in downstream
aquatic ecosystems, where it may be mineralized and released to the
atmosphere as greenhouse gases. Both fire and permafrost thaw may affect
both the quantity and quality of DOC exported from peatlands (including
export of black carbon associated with soil combustion during fire), with
cascading effects on downstream aquatic carbon cycling. Research will be
conducted in the southern Northwest Territories, in streams and lakes of a
peatland region with discontinuous permafrost and several recent fires.
Qualifications: BSc or MSc in biology, chemistry, physical geography or
related field. Willingness to work in remote locations. Driver’s license.
*How to apply:* Please send a letter of interest to olefeldt at ualberta.ca.
Include resume describing your skills end education, transcripts and names
of three referees.
Funding is available through a combination of stipends and TAships, and
there is funding for research and conference travel. Starting dates are
flexible, either January, May or September 2015.
Assistant Professor and CAIP Chair in Watershed Management and Wetland
Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta
Edmonton, AB, T6G 2E3
Tel: (780) 248 1814
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