PhD candidate ‘Temperate Mediterranean Badlands: A (pre-)Holocene or Anthropocene phenomenon?’

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The awarded NWO-ALW Open Program PhD project Temperate Mediterranean Badlands: A (pre-)Holocene or Anthropocene phenomenon?”, aims to investigate badland formation and evolution in a Mediterranean setting (e.g. Turkey). Badlands are areas which lack soils and vegetation due to constant erosion. Their formation and extension is a catastrophic and irreversible process, which forms a major threat to local economies.
This PhD project aims to develop a high-resolution geochronological framework, building on a unique investigation site in SW Turkey. As a PhD candidate, you will use and develop Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) and, where possible, apply complementary dating methods (cosmogenics, radiocarbon, U-series, Ar/Ar, geomagnetism and archaeological material). You will i) expand recent developments in luminescence dating of feldspars and ii) develop novel methods to recognise fossil badlands in the Pleistocene landscape record. By combining these approaches, you will (iii) test hypotheses on driving factors for badland formation through Landscape Evolution Modelling. The insights gained during this PhD project are expected to support the development of effective mitigation and conservation measures to secure sustainable land-use in Mediterranean areas. You will carry out this project under supervision of the principal investigator dr. Jeroen M. Schoorl, co-workers at the chair of Soil Geography & Landscape and a whole team of international scientists.

We ask

You have an MSc degree in earth sciences, physical geography, environmental sciences or a related field and preferably experience with fieldwork, geomorphology and landscape reconstruction, landscape evolution modelling and/or geochronological dating techniques:

  • You are able to develop appropriate survey strategies for badland landscapes and to lead the geomorphological fieldwork.
  • You are experienced in or acquainted with digital modelling of landscape processes and data processing (Digital Elevation Models) in GIS.
  • You are able to analyse geochronological data, and you enjoy working in a laboratory.
  • You are proficient in English, have excellent oral and written communication skills, and the ability to work efficiently alone as well as in a team.
  • Knowledge off, or willingness to get acquainted with, the Turkish language and culture is expected.
  • You will write manuscripts for publication in international peer-reviewed journals, which will constitute the main part of your PhD thesis.

Applications should include:

  • a motivation letter, stating why you want to do this research and how you fit the requirements (no more than one page);
  • a full academic CV;
  • a list of grades obtained for your Bachelor and Master (or equivalent) programs;
  • a writing sample, e.g. a published paper or a chapter from your MA thesis.

We offer

A full-time temporary appointment (1.0 fte, 38 hours/week) for a period of 18 months with extension of 30 months, starting preferably before July 2017. Salary ranges from € 2191,- in the first year to € 2801,- (gross) in the fourth year based on full-time employment. You will be appointed at Soil Geography & Landscape Group of Wageningen University.

Additional information: Dr. Jeroen M. Schoorl,

You can apply up and until the 6th of March 2017. Interviews are scheduled in Wageningen for Tuesday 14th of March 2017 (make sure you are available in case of selection).

We are

The department of Environmental Sciences of Wageningen University, provides fundamental research and academic education on our living environment: nature, landscape, land usage, adaptation to climate change, water and ocean management, and the various competing claims on space. This also includes biodiversity and the sustainability of management and production. Wageningen University is part of Wageningen University & Research.

The Soil Geography and Landscape group aims to improve and share understanding of soil patterns and landscape dynamics. We take an integrative approach that combines biophysical and human elements to gain insight in past, present and future system dynamics, and to support sustainable land management. The group has an excellent track record, and offers a stimulating, international research environment.

Wageningen University & Research:
Delivering a substantial contribution to the quality of life. That’s our focus – each and every day. Within our domain, healthy food and living environment, we search for answers to issues affecting society – such as sustainable food production, climate change and alternative energy. Of course, we don’t do this alone. Every day, 6,500 people work on ‘the quality of life’, turning ideas into reality, on a global scale.

Could you be one of these people? We give you the space you need.