PhD Position in Speleothem Paleoenvironmental Reconstruction

Universität Bern Departement of Chemistry and Biochemistry


PhD Position in Speleothem Paleoenvironmental Reconstruction

We invite applications for a PhD position at the Laboratory for the Analysis of Radiocarbon with AMS (LARA) at the University of Bern, to begin in September 2020 or shortly thereafter.

The project will seek to better constrain the past response of terrestrial ecosystems to climate change, using speleothems (terrestrial carbonates) as a coupled archive for climate and ecosystem reconstructions.

Your tasks:
You will investigate the potential of speleothems to serve as high-resolution coupled archives for past climate and ecosystem conditions. This will include working on refining analytical methods for the extraction and isotopic analysis of organic matter from speleothem matrices, using IRMS and AMS. You will be combining these novel methods with standard techniques to produce coupled palaeoclimate and palaeo-ecosystem records from speleothems. Moreover, you will conduct a process study at selected cave sites in Switzerland and western Austria to better understand the provenance and transfer of carbon in mid-latitude karst systems.
Your profile:
We seek a highly motivated student holding a Master degree in earth sciences, chemistry, environmental sciences, biogeochemistry, or related disciplines. Previous experiences with analytical methods and field work are welcome but not essential. A keen interest in lab work and method development is essential. Good oral and written communication skills in English are mandatory.
We offer:
You will be part of a diverse and dynamic team at the LARA lab at the University of Bern. You will also be affiliated with the Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, with ample possibilities for learning opportunities and networking. Interaction and collaboration with groups across different disciplines and departments (earth sciences, geography, chemistry) in Bern, as well as with the Swiss Institute for Speleology and Karst Studies (SISKA) will be an essential part of the PhD. Your PhD program will be either within the Graduate School of Climate Sciences or the Graduate Program of Chemistry and Molecular Sciences. The PhD position is funded for a period of 4 years (full time), and the salary is according to SNSF guidelines.
Application and contact:
Your application should be submitted as one pdf file and include a full academic CV, a letter of motivation, transcripts of academic degrees, and the contact information of two references. Please also send a copy of your Master thesis, if applicable (as a separate pdf).
Send your application as well as any enquiries to More information on our research can be found under and

In your application, please refer to


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