Postdoctoral position in biogeosciences (1.0 FTE, 3 years)

Utrecht University
March 20 2017
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

The Department of Earth Sciences currently seeks a highly-motivated, high-potential applicant for a position as a Postdoc to work within the research project ‘CO2-dependent carbon isotope fractionation in dinoflagellate cysts; calibrating an emerging CO2 proxy based on modern systems and glacial-interglacial cycles'.

Pronounced uncertainty remains regarding the reconstructions of atmospheric CO2 concentrations through geological time, despite significant progress over the past decade. Based on our initial studies, the stable carbon isotopic composition of dinoflagellate cysts (δ13CDINO) may serve as a proxy for past CO2 concentrations . We have quantified the relation between CO2 and dinoflagellate δ13C in controlled growth experiments and determined the physiological processes determining this response. In addition, we have developed a new analytical procedure to enable reliable analyses of species-specific δ13CDINO based on single specimens . These initial studies have provided the physiological and biogeological underpinning as well as the analytical advances required for the reconstruction of past CO2 concentrations based on fossil dinocysts.

We are now looking for a Postdoctoral researcher to:

  • quantify the relation between CO2 and δ13CDINO in the modern ocean by using surface sediments and sediment traps to validate the growth experiments;

  • test if CO2 can be reliably reconstructed using δ13CDINO for the ice ages of the past million years, for which good CO2 data are available from ice cores;

  • apply the new proxy to reconstruct CO2 during past climates.


  1. Hoins, M., Van de Waal, D. B., Eberlein, T., Reichart, G.-J., Rost, B., and Sluijs, A. (2015): Stable carbon isotope fractionation of organic cyst-forming dinoflagellates: Evaluating the potential for a CO2 proxy, Geochim Cosmochim Ac, 160, 267-276, doi:10.1016/j.gca.2015.04.001.

  2. Hoins, M., Eberlein, T., Groβmann, C., Brandenburg, K., Reichart, G.-J., Rost, B., Sluijs, A., and Van de Waal, D. B. (2016a): Combined effects of ocean acidification and light or nitrogen availabilities on 13C fractionation in marine dinoflagellates, PLoS One, 11, e0154370, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0154370.

  3. Hoins, M., Eberlein, T., Van de Waal, D. B., Sluijs, A., Reichart, G.-J., and Rost, B. (2016b): CO2-dependent carbon isotope fractionation in dinoflagellates relates to their inorganic carbon fluxes, Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 481, 9-14, doi:10.1016/j.jembe.2016.04.001.

  4. Van Roij, L., Sluijs, A., Laks, J. J., and Reichart, G.-J. (2017): Stable carbon isotope analyses of ng quantities of particulate organic carbon (pollen) with laser ablation nano combustion gas chromatography isotope ratio mass spectrometry, Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 31, 47-58, doi:10.1002/rcm.7769.

We seek a highly motivated candidate with the following requirements:

  • a PhD degree and a very good publication record;

  • practicle experience in isotope ratio mass spectrometry and (marine) organic carbon isotope systems;

  • experience with the supervision of students;

  • experience in (dinoflagellate cyst) micropaleontology is not required, but desirable.

Applicants must have excellent written and spoken English skills and be highly motivated to work in an international team.

This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess