PhD position in eco-hydrology (Hydrological constraints on Rare Earth Elements dynamics in the re...

Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology
September 26 2017
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

We propose an interdisciplinary research project that will focus at a better understanding of processes controlling water exchanges at the regolith-plant interface. More specifically, we intend to focus on one of the most prominent blueprints in recent hydrological processes research: the two water worlds concept. We plan to revise this concept using a new multi-tracer approach with a view to propose a more holistic understanding of the critical zone's functioning. Given the intricate complexity of plant transpiration, we propose an experimental validation of the fundamental assumptions of the use of Rare Earth Elements, in combination with stable (O, H) isotopes as a proxy of water mixing and exchange within the critical zone.

One of the main pillars of this PhD project consists in the combination of quantitative (hydrology) and qualitative (geochemistry) approaches to estimate the biogeochemical processes that control the temporal dynamics of the water exchanges between the regolith and the plants. More specifically, the candidate will be in charge of:

- making a state-of-the-art analysis relative to the general objectives of the project and the elaboration of the working hypotheses,

- designing and implementing short- to long-term laboratory and field experiments in line with the formulated hypotheses,

- collecting water samples in different environmental media (groundwater reservoirs, soils, plants…) at various time scales, including high-frequency resolution,

- preparing and analysing solid and water samples for complete chemical composition (major elements, Rare Earth Elements, nutrients, pH…), isotopic composition including stable isotopes (O, H) as well as mineralogical composition (SEM/EDX),

- proposing relevant statistical approaches using multi-tracer datasets for improving the existing hydrological/geochemical concepts of water exchanges between regolith and plants,

- rigorously processing and analysing collected data for publication in highly ranked international peer-reviewed journals.

This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess