Applicants are invited for a PhD fellowship/scholarship at Graduate School of Technical Sciences, Aarhus University, Denmark, within the Agroecology programme. The position is available from 1 April 2023 or later.

PhD in Phosphorus Transport in Rewetted Lowland Areas – critical processes and risk mapping

Research area and project description:
Rewetting organic lowland soils reduces carbon dioxide emissions significantly and represents an important climate change mitigation. However, rewetting may cause excessive release of iron-oxide bound phosphorus (P) in anoxic soils leading to eutrophication of the aquatic environment. Our understanding of P release from lowland hot spot areas is insufficient and current methodology does not allow locating these areas.

Therefore, this PhD study combines field, lab, and modelling studies for improving our understanding of the geochemical and subsurface hydrological processes in restored wetlands that govern net P release from soils to surface waters. The project contributes to the urgent task of identifying suitable areas for rewetting as well as hot spots where critical P release must be mitigated before rewetting.

The candidate will analyse subsurface flow paths along selected transects in recently rewetted lowlands in Denmark as well as P mobilization in column leaching experiments under anaerobic conditions in the lab. These process studies are combined with reactive transport modelling for elucidating the P transfer from the restored wetlands to surface waters. The final part of the project focuses on the upscaling of P transfer in scenario analyses at catchment scale by translating process understanding from the transect studies to empirical relations that link hydrological and geochemical properties at larger scale. Thus, we aim to develop a new concept for parsimonious risk assessment scenarios of P loss from restored wetlands.

We are looking for an open-minded, curious person that combines a practical interest in geochemistry with a flair for hydrological modelling. The student will join a team of hydrologists, geochemists and experienced technicians in an international environment where commitment, helpfulness, flexibility, and close collaboration are core values. Our department is internationally recognized for its contribution to sustainable solutions under the Green Transition where especially rewetting of organic lowland soils is a focus area.

The study is part of an Independent Research Fund Denmark project “Mapping Phosphorus hot spots – the ticket to Carbon sequestration in lowland soils” which is a collaboration between Copenhagen University, Aarhus University, University of Tübingen (Germany), and University of Rostock (Germany).

Project description. For technical reasons, you must upload a project description. Please simply copy the project description above, and upload it as a PDF in the application.

Qualifications and specific competences:
The applicants must have a M.Sc. degree in Soil Science, Agronomy, Environmental Science or closely related fields. Demonstrated  oral and written communication skills in English are required. Basic knowledge of phosphorus dynamics in soils as well as modelling of phosphorus and water transport is an advantage. The applicant must be able to present results at international conferences and publish in international peer-reviewed journals. The applicant should be enthusiastic about working in an international and interdisciplinary academic environment. Applications from women and people from underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged.

Place of employment and place of work:
The place of employment is Aarhus University, and the place of work is AU-Foulum, Blichers Alle 20, 8830 Tjele, Denmark.

Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact Associate professor Bo Vangsø Iversen,

Please note:

  • The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.
  • Shortlisting will be used, which means that the evaluation committee only will evaluate the most relevant applications.

How to apply:
Please follow this link to submit your application. Application deadline is 15 January 2023 at 23:59 CET. Preferred starting date is 1 April 2023.

Aarhus University’s ambition is to be an attractive and inspiring workplace for all and to foster a culture in which each individual has opportunities to thrive, achieve and develop. We view equality and diversity as assets, and we welcome all applicants. All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background. Salary and terms of employment are in accordance with applicable collective agreement. 

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