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Research Fellow

University of Southampton - Geochemistry

Location: Southampton
Salary: £34,980 to £38,205 per annum
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 9th February 2024
Closes: 14th March 2024
Job Ref: 2420423HN-1R
 

Applications are invited from researchers to work as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the University of Southampton’s World-leading Geochemistry Research Group (https://www.southampton.ac.uk/research/groups/geochemistry).  In the School of Ocean and Earth Science at the National Oceanography Centre Southampton you will join a community of >500 researchers and support staff drawn from physics, chemistry, biology, geoscience and engineering, with a strong focus on marine biology and the marine environment, to work on a project at the interface between the electrochemistry, geochemistry, marine biology, and engineering.

This post is funded through a grant entitled “CoralChem – The mechanics of coral calcification revealed by a novel electrochemical toolkit” funded by the BBSRC. The line management will be shared between Prof Gavin Foster (https://www.southampton.ac.uk/oes/about/staff/glf1u08.page), Dr Guy Denuault (https://www.southampton.ac.uk/people/5wyh7m/doctor-guy-denuault) and Prof Peter Smith (https://www.southampton.ac.uk/people/5x8c6f/professor-peter-smith).

Stony corals, and the vibrant coral reefs they support, are under threat from a multitude of anthropogenic stressors from ocean warming and ocean acidification to pollution and over-fishing.  The calcium carbonate skeleton of stony corals is constructed within a micro-sized extracellular space sandwiched between the animal tissue and the existing skeleton.  To go beyond our current empirical understanding and to better predict the fate of these important ecosystem engineers requires a mechanistic understanding of the biomineralization process.  This is however currently lacking due to the difficulty of reliably and accurately determining the carbonate chemistry (i.e. the pH) of the space where skeleton construction occurs.  

We will overcome this challenge here by i) developing a durable solid state dual O2/pH sensor, and ii) addressing the fundamental issue of positional feedback to maintain a constant position of a sensor inserted within the calcifying space of a mobile living organism, ensuring that the sensor is not destroyed during measurement through collision with the hard skeleton.

A successful candidate should have:

  • A PhD (or equivalent) in the Physical Sciences in the general area of electrochemistry or electronics and instrumentation.  
  • Experience in the development of scanning probe techniques would be a strong advantage.
  • Experience with electrochemical methods would also be advantageous but not essential.
  • Skills in hypothesis-testing, experiment design, analysis of data sets and writing scientific manuscripts and reports.
  • Demonstrate strong drive, ambition and motivation, with the capacity to deliver on challenging tasks and to meet deadlines both individually and as part of a team.  
  • Express a desire to apply cutting edge electrochemical tools and approaches to the environmental sciences to help tackle the multifaceted anthropogenic threats faced by tropical coral reefs – one of the most important but endangered ecosystems on the planet.

For further information about related work at Southampton follow these links:

https://www.southampton.ac.uk/oes/research/groups/geochemistry.page

www.thefosterlab.org

http://www.thefosterlab.org/microns2reefs

For further enquiries please contact Professor Gavin Foster (g.l.foster@soton.ac.uk )

Applications for Research Fellow positions will be considered from candidates who are working towards or nearing completion of a relevant PhD qualification.  The title of Research Fellow will be applied upon successful completion of the PhD.  Prior to the qualification being awarded the title of Senior Research Assistant will be given.

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