Two Ph.D. studentship available at Memorial University of Newfoundland (Canada): Greenhouse gas emissions in boreal peatlands affected by agricultural drainage
Two Ph.D. studentships are available at the Terrestrial Biogeochemistry and Ecohydrology Research Group (TBERG) of Memorial University of Newfoundland (Canada). The studentships are part of the project "Examining the impacts of agricultural drainage on carbon cycling of northern peatlands", funded by NSERC. The studentships are available fully funded for four years, starting immediately or as early as possible.
The big research question that this project attempts to address is "how is the carbon cycling (carbon dioxide and methane) in northern peatlands altered by agricultural drainage and how can we incorporate the field observation-based knowledge into peatland ecosystem carbon models?"
Ph.D. 1: Examining the impacts of agricultural drainage on greenhouse gas emissions (carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) in boreal peatlands.
Your research work will include, but not limited to, (1) quantify greenhouse gas emissions from boreal peatlands affected by agricultural drainage; (2) measure the temporal and spatial variability of greenhouse gas emissions; (3) determine the biotic and abiotic regulatory factors and their relationships with greenhouse gas fluxes.
The measurements of greenhouse gas fluxes are based on static chamber methods and gas chromatography, and eddy-covariance tower measurement. All these measurements have been continuously carried out starting from the summer of 2013. We have installed a pair of eddy covariance (EC) tower, equipped with LI-7200 and LI-7700, on our research sites, one on the natural peatland, and the other one on abandoned peatland pasture with active drainage, and they have been operational since September 2013.
You should have excellent oral and written communication skills in English, and the appropriate academic background, for example, in soil science, ecology, earth system science, physical geography, hydrology, biogeochemistry, forestry ecology, and micrometerology, and other suitable subjects, to analyze the large EC data. You are required to regularly visit the sites year-round to collect gas samples from static chambers, and maintain the proper function of EC tower, analyze the sample in the lab, write high-quality manuscripts for peer-reviewed publication in the high impact journals, presentation in international/national conferences, and other requirement for a Ph.D. degree.
Ph.D. 2: Modeling the impacts of agricultural drainage on greenhouse gas emissions (carbon dioxide and methane) in boreal peatlands.
The research question directing this project is "how can the changes in biogeochemical properties in boreal peatlands affected by agricultural drainage be parameterized in the McGill Wetland Model (MWM) or DeNitrification and DeComposition Model (DNDC)"? Either MWM or DNDC needs to be adapted to incorporate the changes in hydrology and vegetation composition in the agriculturally drained peatlands. The newly developed/adapted model will be evaluated against the continuous eddy-covariance tower measurements (carbon dioxide and methane). If feasible, you are also expected to examine how these agriculturally drained peatlands would be affected in the future projected climate change in terms of carbon dioxide and methane fluxes. We have continuous half-hour C flux data (carbon dioxide and methane) from a natural peatland and an agriculturally drained peatland since September 2013.
You are required to have: excellent oral and written communication skills in English; appropriate academic background, for example, in soil science, ecology, earth system science, physical geography, hydrology, biogeochemistry, forestry ecology, and micrometerology, and other suitable subjects; strong numerical analytical skills; experience with process-based ecosystem modeling; A good understanding of peatland/wetland biogeochemistry, wetland/peatland hydrology and biophysical drivers of peatland/wetland processes; experience in computer programming (for example, Fortran, or C, C++) preferred. You are also required to write high-quality manuscript for peer-reviewed publication in the high impact journals, presentation in international/national conferences, and other requirement for a Ph.D. degree.
If you are interested in either of the two positions, please send a letter of motivation/research statement, evidence of English Proficiency (if required for international students), up-to-date curriculum vitae, unofficial transcripts, and a copy of any publication (if available) to Dr. Jianghua Wu at email@example.com with subject "Ph.D. studentship". Reviewing is started immediately after your files are received. For the suitable applicants, you will be contacted by email to encourage you to apply formally through the following link: http://www.mun.ca/become/graduate/programs/environmental.php, from which you can find the detailed information on the application process.