Applicants are invited for a PhD fellowship/scholarship at Graduate School of Technical Sciences, Aarhus University, Denmark, within the Ecoscience programme. The position is available from 01 November 2023 or later. Title: Recovering peatlands for global change mitigation

Research area and project description: Rewetting of low-lying drained organic soils is proposed as an efficient nature-based solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient export from agriculture. However, we lack knowledge of the efficacy of rewetting for these ecosystem services, as different strategies have not been tested in field studies.

In a multidisciplinary field experiment linking soil microbes, geochemistry, greenhouse gas emissions and hydrology, ReverCit will test a novel restoration strategy called topsoil-removal by measuring greenhouse gas and nutrient fluxes coupled to soil microbiology. Topsoil removal is expected to enhance the reduction potential, compared to increasing groundwater levels only, because the most reactive peat substrate is removed.

The major outcome of ReverCit is to quantify the underlying hydrological and biological processes in rewetted soils with and without topsoil removal that will highlight benefits and limitations of this potentially more sustainable rewetting strategy. The research in ReverCit will be conducted at a Danish “living wetland lab” in Vejrumbro, which was fully instrumented for monitoring hydrology, CO2 and CH4 fluxes and nutrients in 2022 as part of the national research infrastructure project ReWet.

Senior researcher Dominik H. Zak (ECOS, AU), will be the principal investigator (PI) of the project. His core expertise is on biogeochemical processes in soils concerning phosphorus, nitrogen, carbon, and iron cycles.

The project team consists further of associate professor Jesper R. Christiansen (IGN, KU), specialised in linking soil hydrology, field studies of GHG measurements and microbial communities and Professor Susanne Liebner (HC, GFZ), specialised in the microbial C cycle and microbial communities and microbiomes in peatlands.

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:

Applicants must have a relevant Master’s degree or at least one year of a Master’s degree in Environmental Science. We are looking for candidates within the field(s) of environmental chemistry/microbiology, soil chemistry and/or geochemistry.

Applicants should be familiar with element cycling and chemical/microbial processes in soils. Experimental experience with soil analyses, and geochemical methods applied to soils and water will be an advantage. The applicant should be interested in both field and laboratory work and need to hold or obtain a drivers licence.

Place of employment and place of work: The place of employment is Aarhus University, and the place of work is Department of Ecoscience, C. F. Møllers Allé 3, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark.

Contacts: Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact Senior Researcher Dominik Henrik Zak,

How to apply:

Please follow this link to submit your application. Application deadline is 01 August 2023 at 23:59 CEST. Preferred starting date is 01 November 2023.

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.

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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