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Research Fellow in Palaeoecology (Amazonia) - AR2146HM

University of St Andrews - School of Geography and Sustainable Development

Location: Saint Andrews
Salary: £33,199 to £34,189 per annum
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 20th September 2018
Closes: 31st October 2018
Job Ref: 202125

Start Date: 1 December 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter, Fixed Term: 2 years

Applications are invited for a two-year postdoctoral research assistantship (PDRA) to join a NERC-funded project, “Carbon Storage in Amazonian Peatlands: Distribution and Dynamics”.

The project, which involves the Universities of Edinburgh and Leeds and several project partners including the Instituto del Investigaciones de la Amazonía Peruana (IIAP), aims to use palaeoecology, remote sensing, field measurements, and modelling to make a step change in our understanding of peatland carbon storage in Amazonia. The project began in December 2017 and its early work has focused on setting up experiments in the field and collecting samples.

This new PDRA position, based at the University of St Andrews, will focus on the long-term ecology of western Amazonian peatlands using a range of palaeoenvironmental techniques, principally pollen analysis. The main task for the postholder is to develop well-dated pollen records from a range of sites. Appropriate cores from four sites have already been collected, but there is scope to collect further samples and to refine the sample collection strategy as data emerge.

The postholder will be expected to undertake detailed palynological analysis of peat sequences from the region, and to undertake a range of related tasks (including sub-sampling, sedimentological and geochemical analysis, and preparing samples for dating by 14C and 210Pb). The postholder will be required to take part in at least one field expedition in order to collect samples and to service some field sites where we have installed long-term monitoring equipment (dipwells and litter decomposition bags). They will be expected to lead in data analysis, publication, and presentation at conferences.

The successful applicant will have a PhD in Quaternary pollen analysis and experience of related palaeoenvironmental techniques. Experience of fieldwork in challenging and/or tropical environments would be an advantage. The applicant must be self-motivated and organized, and able to take the lead in collecting, analysing and publishing datasets. The PDRA will work as part of a growing team of researchers based at St Andrews who are working on various aspects of peatland natural and social science in Amazonia and in the Congo Basin.

The School of Geography and Sustainable Development was ranked fifth nationally overall and third for research environment in the 2014 REF assessment. Its staff and students form a welcoming and supportive community. A wide range of career development opportunities and courses is provided by the University, which is Scotland’s oldest. The town of St Andrews is situated on the beautiful coastline of eastern Scotland, which is rich in attractions for visitors and residents alike.

The post will commence on 1 December 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter, for 24 months.

For further information, please contact Dr Ian Lawson.

The University is committed to equality for all, demonstrated through our working on diversity awards (ECU Athena SWAN/Race Charters; Carer Positive; LGBT Charter; and Stonewall). More details can be found at             

Interview Date: 14 November 2018

Please quote ref: AR2146HM     

Further Particulars: AR2146HM FPs.doc 

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