Postdoctoral Research Associate in Ocean Biogeochemical Dynamics
University of St Andrews
Climate, Ocean, and Atmosphere @ St Andrews (COASt)
The Climate, Ocean, and Atmosphere at St Andrews (COASt) research group, in the School of Earth and Environmental Science, studies fundamental and topical questions about our coupled ocean-atmosphere and climate system. Combining expertise in oceanography, atmospheric dynamics, paleoclimate, and biogeochemistry, COASt sets out to:
- derive fundamental insight into the physical and biogeochemical dynamics of the atmosphere, the ocean, and their interaction;
- reconstruct, decipher and understand the causes of past climatic change;
- make robust predictions for how the ocean and atmosphere will change in coming decades and millennia.
The group’s research involves using a combination of global observations, paleoclimate proxy records, simplified ocean and atmosphere numerical simulations, and complex Earth System Models. COASt is a dynamic and vibrant group, hosting regular meetings and social events to foster collaborations, build community, and drive exciting new science.
School of Earth and Environmental Science
The School of Earth and Environmental Sciences addresses fundamental questions about the past, present, and future of Earth and other planets. We foster an environment for creative, collaborative science and research-led teaching. We desire individuals whose expertise will enhance that environment whilst strengthening and expanding our existing expertise in climate dynamics, atmospheric science, isotope geochemistry, oceanography, biogeochemistry, field geology and environmental Earth science. The school’s research is organized around three themes:
- Climate, Society and Environment focusses on examining Earth’s changing environment. Expertise includes the dynamics of the ocean and atmosphere, ocean biogeochemistry, reconstructions of ocean chemistry, atmospheric CO2 and past climate, landscape evolution, ocean acidification and its impact on biomineralisation and volcanic impacts on climate and society.
- Earth Resources and Sustainability targets pressing scientific questions that address the challenge of net zero and the energy transition. Research ranges from finding new resources and providing geological and environmental solutions for their extraction, to best practice in managing our natural environment and our metals, water and energy resources for a sustainable future.
- Evolution of Planets and Life explores planetary evolution through time, from the formation of the solar system to the present, understanding geodynamic processes and how they shape planets, and the co-evolution of life and environments.
The School of Earth and Environmental Science has recently undergone an exciting phase of expansion, with new faculty hires – including in climate dynamics, biogeochemistry, and atmospheric dynamics – and a £2M investment in new laboratories. We collaborate in marine research with the European Marine Biology Research Centre, Scottish Oceans Institute and Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland. We have competition-based access to the UK’s High Performance Computing Facilities and the Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) computing analysis cluster, JASMIN. The School is a member of the IAPETUS2 and SUPER NERC Doctoral Training Partnership and we have collaborative research interests with Schools across the University.
The University of St Andrews
- The third oldest university in the English-speaking world.
- Ranked top UK university in the Guardian University Guide 2024.
- Ranked number one in the UK in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024.
- Students at the University of St Andrews are more positive about their education than students at any other mainstream university in the National Student Survey 2023.
- The University of St Andrews is Scotland’s top university and one of the top four universities in the UK in The Complete University Guide 2024.
- The University is top in the UK for Teaching Quality in the Daily Mail University Guide 2024.
- Research-intensive, more than 88% of research carried out by the University of St Andrews is world-leading or internationally excellent (Research Excellence Framework 2021).
- Athena SWAN Bronze Award holder
- A Strategy founded on ambition to be World-Leading, Diverse, Global, Entrepreneurial and Sustainable all underpinned by a commitment to socially responsibility.
- A community of 10,000 students and 3000 staff.
- Highly international – more than 30% of students and staff are from outwith the UK
- A non-campus university, closely integrated with the ancient town of St Andrews
- Top quality sports, music and nursery facilities for staff and students
Climate: Past, Present & Future (CL)
Ocean Sciences (OS)
We are seeking a talented and creative postdoctoral researcher to work on ocean biogeochemical dynamics using observations, numerical models, and theory. Candidates should have a high level of technical skill in data analysis, and a strong grasp of ocean circulation and biogeochemistry. The position is initially available for two years, with the possibility of extension.
The ocean plays a fundamental role in global biogeochemical cycling, with impacts on climate, planetary habitability, and ecosystem dynamics. Large-scale changes in these cycles – such as that of carbon and oxygen – are being observed or are predicted in the coming decades and centuries. For example, widespread deoxygenation and acidification are expected by the end of the 21st century, with potentially severe ramifications for both marine life and climate feedbacks. Understanding the mechanisms behind these changes is inhibited by a chronic sparsity of observations. Novel theoretical and analytical approaches are required to deepen our understanding of oceanic biogeochemical cycles and their observed changes, and to predict their future evolution and the consequences therein.
This position will form part of a project dedicated to understanding ocean biogeochemical dynamics, their timescales and mechanisms of variability, and their impact on marine ecosystems and global climate. As part of the Ocean Dynamics group at the University of St Andrews, you will use a suite of novel analysis techniques and diagnostics to analyze Earth System Models and observation-based data products. You will creatively explore how physical and biogeochemical processes operate in novel coordinate frames that are aligned with the processes being examined and questions being asked. Together with theoretical considerations, you will use these analyses to diagnose the mechanisms behind historical biogeochemical change, such as recent ocean deoxygenation, and make predictions about the future. In parallel, you will assess the spread in the representation of these mechanisms across a suite of ESMs. To this project you will bring unique perspective and creativity and help to forge the overall direction of the research as it progresses.
You will have:
- A PhD (or shortly expected to achieve) or equivalent in physical, (bio)geochemical, or mathematical sciences;
- An understanding of the physical process relating to ocean circulation and/or the physical, biological, and chemical processes relating to ocean biogeochemical cycles;
- Some experience of analyzing large geospatial datasets, such as global observation-based data products or numerical circulation models;
- Strong programming skills in Python or another appropriate data processing and visualization language.