Job Opportunity: Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Mercury Marine Biogeochemistry, VRB, Belgium | POGO

Job Opportunity: Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Mercury Marine Biogeochemistry, VRB, Belgium

Apply by 15 April


The Analytical, Environmental and Geochemistry (AMGC) at VUB offers a Post-doctoral Fellowship position. The position lasts for four years within the framework of FWO Lead bilateral project with Slovenian ARRS Research Agency “BioavailablE MERcury Methylation in the ADriatic sea (BE MERMAiD)”.


The project investigates mechanisms transforming inorganic mercury (Hg) to methylmercury (MeHg) in the open ocean water. MeHg concentrates in living organisms and it eventually builds up to very dangerous concentrations in fish and higher animals in sea food webs, damaging both human and ecosystem health. However, we do not know exactly how the methylation occurs, which microorganisms do it and especially exactly which fraction of Hg is available to them. This is termed chemically labile or bioavailable fraction of Hg, it represents a small percentage of total Hg and its chemical identity is largely unknown. The bioavailability aspect will be the focus of investigations on the Belgian part of the project and will be combined with Hg stable isotope analysis and their distribution in labile Hg species on the Slovenian part. We will use the passive sampling technique of Diffusive Gradients in Thin Films (DGT) to determine Hg bioavailable fraction, the strength with which it is bonded, the processes that control its abundance and transformations, and the likelihood of methylation. To that end, we will be the first to measure Hg stable isotopes of bioavailable fraction, collected with DGTs onboard an automatic submarine in the Adriatic Sea. By this innovative combination of advanced analytical methodology, we will tackle one of the outstanding questions in the Hg biogeochemistry: Hg methylation in the open marine environments.


For full details and instructions on how to apply, visit: 


NB The application deadline has been extended to 15 April 2019, or until the position has been filled.

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