[ES_JOBS_NET] Postdoctoral fellowship in mercury biogeochemistry at Umeå University, Sweden

Anne Soerensen Anne.Soerensen at aces.su.se
Thu Dec 20 02:47:53 MST 2018

Postdoc position at Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology

We are offering a postdoctoral fellowship within a fully funded project on mercury cycling in oxygen deficient coastal seas. We are seeking an ambitious candidate who is interested in identifying mechanisms controlling formation and bioaccumulation of methylmercury in seas with pelagic redoxclines. Apply no later than 28th Jan 2019.

Project description

You will study processes for formation and bioaccumulation of methylmercury in oxygen deficient coastal seas. The research will focus on molecular level studies on how chemical speciation and bioavailability of mercury vary across pelagic redoxclines. The studies will be carried out in the Baltic Sea region, but the findings from the project will be applicable to many coastal and marine ecosystems.

Neurotoxic methylmercury accumulates in aquatic biota and mercury is considered one of the top ten chemicals of public health concern. Oxygen deficiency is spreading in coastal waters and the global ocean as one dramatic symptom of anthropogenic pollution and ecosystem perturbations. At oxygen deficient conditions redox stratifications and pelagic redoxclines can form in the water column. Our mechanistic understanding on how pelagic redoxclines impact methylmercury formation, flux and exposure to biota is however insufficient. We will combine key competences in mercury biogeochemistry and molecular biology and use recently developed state-of-the-art methodologies to resolve these long-term outstanding research questions.

The post doc will conduct field sampling campaigns in the Baltic Sea, incubation experiments and chemical analyses of mercury and thiol compounds, and of sulfide. Focus will be on characterizing how the chemical speciation of mercury and formation of methylmercury vary across pelagic redoxclines. Mercury and thiol compounds will be analyzed by GC-ICPMS and LC-ESIMS/MS techniques, respectively. Results from the spectroscopic measurements will be combined with thermodynamic and kinetic modeling to understand in detail mercury interactions with thiols and sulfide, and to identify molecular mechanisms in control of mercury availability for methylation. The impact of pelagic redoxclines on methylmercury accumulation in plankton will also be studied.

Within the fellowship you will: (i) continuously be updated on the scientific literature of the research field, (ii) formulate scientific objectives and hypotheses within the project, (iii) plan and conduct advanced field sampling campaigns, laboratory experiments and thermodynamic and kinetic modeling, (iv) compile and interpret results, (v) present results in oral seminars (including at international conferences) and as scientific publications.

The post doc fellowship is funded by the foundation “Carl Tryggers Stiftelse för Vetenskaplig Forskning” (CTS 18: 41). The project is fully funded and will be conducted in close collaboration with a post doc in microbial biogeochemistry and with a multi-disciplinary team of scientists in analytical chemistry, biogeochemistry and microbial molecular biology at Umeå University (Assoc. Prof. Erik Björn), Stockholm University (Dr. Anne Soerensen), Uppsala University (Prof. Stefan Bertilsson) and Linnaeus University (Prof. Jarone Pinhassi).

The fellowship is full-time for a period of two years and amounts to 276 000 SEK per year. Starting date is 1st of May 2019 or at a date decided in agreement between the two parties that allows the postdoc to participate in summer field campaigns during 2019.


The required qualification is a doctoral degree, or a foreign degree that is deemed equivalent, in biogeochemistry or equivalent field. To be eligible the degree should have been completed a maximum of three years before the end of the application period unless certain circumstances exist. The doctoral degree should preferably be focused on mercury biogeochemistry. Experience of field sampling campaigns, GC-ICPMS and/or LC-MS techniques, and/or work with thermodynamic modeling is meriting.

The successful candidate must have a very good command of written and spoken English. You should be enthusiastic and determined, like experimental research, be precise, and be able to conduct research both independently and in a group.
For more info and how to apply see: https://www.umu.se/en/work-with-us/fellowships-and-grants/6-2482-18/

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