Paleonet: PhD studentship available

Daniela Schmidt at
Wed Sep 5 13:24:22 UTC 2012

*Global and local effects of long-term environmental change: a turtle's 
eye view*

Supervisors: Dr Daniela Schmidt (Earth Sciences) and Prof Paul Valdes 
(Geographical Sciences)

Turtles, tortoises, and terrapins (collectively termed chelonians) have 
persisted through numerous major environmental perturbations, including 
the formation of global hothouse conditions in the Late Cretaceous, the 
end-Cretaceous mass extinction, and post-Eocene global cooling trends. 
How have they responded to these environmental changes? What can we 
learn from their history that can be applied to understand future 
responses of biota to long-term environmental change? Chelonians are 
globally threatened, and study of their past reactions to major 
environmental events will help predict their possible responses to 
projected future climate change.

We are advertising a *fully funded studentship* as part of our 
collaborative NERC-funded project (Natural History Museum, London, Royal 
Holloway University of London, University of Glasgow and Bristol) to 
investigate possible links between climate and turtle diversity during 
the Mesozoic and Paleogene. The project will bring together a number of 
powerful model and data approaches to investigate detailed aspects of 
the palaeobiogeographical habitat and particular ecological niches of 
chelonians. The student will develop a detailed modelling based 
description of the habitat of turtles throughout the Mesozoic and 
Palaeogene, and an extensive database of biological and palaeoclimate 
proxy data. The student will interrogate fully coupled 
atmosphere-ocean-vegetation models simulations using the Hadley Centre 
climate model (HadCM3L), one of the world's leading general circulation 
models (GCM), Vegetation (BIOME4 and SDVGM) and hydrological models 
(HYDRA) and species distribution (niche) modelling tools. These tools 
will allow us to investigate the contrasting effects of climate (mainly 
temperature and precipitation, including seasonality), vegetation, and 
surface hydrology on the distribution of chelonians at particular times 
during Earth history. The student will acquire strong skills in data 
modelling, management and visualisation, numeracy, and research 
communication; all identified by NERC as critical skills gaps in the UK 
environment sector. You will gain highly sought-after technical skills 
in GCM modelling, analysing diverse datasets, interpreting the 
palaeontological record and in the statistical interpretation of a 
variety of 'proxy' data. It is anticipated that your work will result in 
a series of high-profile publications, giving you the opportunity to 
start your career very effectively with a unique, stand-out project.

A strong applicant will be highly numerate, have a background in 
sciences, with a particular interest in climatology and palaeontology. 
The applicant needs to be eligible for NERC funding (*2.1 degree or 
higher, UK citizen, or an EU citizen who spent the previous three years 
in the UK undertaking education at either undergraduate or postgraduate 
level*). Both Schools provide exposure to unique postgraduate learning 
opportunities and active postgraduate communities. It is anticipated 
that the student will be active in the vibrant BRIDGE 
<> and Palaeobiology 
<>Research groups and part of the Cabot 
Institute <> and will also be allied 
informally to the Natural History Museum <> and 
Royal Holloway as part of the broader research team on this project.

* *

*Applications to be send to ** at* 
< at>**

*Interviews will be held early October. The position will be open until 
filled. *

*The successful applicant will start asap, latest on or after shortly 
after 4 February 2013.*

Dr. Daniela Schmidt

Royal Society University Research Fellow

Department of Earth Sciences	
University of Bristol 		
Wills Memorial Building,
Queens Road
Bristol BS8 1RJ, UK

Phone: 0044 117 954 5414
Fax: 0044 117 925 3385

E-mail: at

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the Paleonet mailing list