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PhD: PhD position on experimental fossilisation in palaeontology/geochemistry

Project Title

PhD position on experimental fossilisation in palaeontology/geochemistry


Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

Supervisors and Institutions

We are looking for an enthusiastic person, who will be working in an inspiring, multi-disciplinary research team of palaeontologists and geochemists in close collaboration with members of the FOR 2685 at the University of Bonn. The PhD candidate will be jointly supervised by Prof. Dr. Thomas Tütken and Prof. Dr. Bernd Schöne at the University of Mainz.

Funding Status

Funding is in place for this project

Project Description

A PhD position on “ Chemical and mineralogical changes of calcareous shell material during fossilisation processes – an experimental approach” is to be filled at the Institute of Geosciences at the Johannes Gutenberg-University of Mainz, Germany. This project is embedded within the framework of the DFG research unit FOR 2685 “The Limits of the Fossil Record: Analytical and Experimental Approaches to Fossilization”

The PhD candidate will perform controlled in vitro alteration experiments with bivalve and egg shell samples in isotopically enriched (O, Sr, Ca, Zn, Mg) aqueous solutions to quantitatively assess fossilization processes of these calcareous hard tissues. The diagenetic alteration processes and their chemical, mineralogical and histological effects, both on the carbonate and organic matrix, will be monitored from the macroscopic down to the nanometer scale using a concert of analytical techniques such as Raman spectroscopy, XRD, MC/LA-ICP-MS, OES, clumped isotopes, CF-IRMS, electron microprobe and SEM. The aim is to gain a better mechanistic understanding of the fossilization processes at low temperatures (30-90 °C) and assess the resilience of environmental and ecological isotope proxies in shell material against alteration in fresh water and marine taphonomic settings.

Candidate profile:
• Master degree (above average grade) in geosciences, material sciences, or a related field.
• Outstanding motivation and enthusiasm as well as a broad scientific background in geochemistry/mineralogy is fundamental and a strong interest in palaeontology is necessary.
• Experience in some of the analytical techniques given above is desirable.
• Passion for careful experiments including chemical and mineralogical analyses is required as well as the evaluation and interpretation of a variety of mineralogical and geochemical data.
• Ability and willingness to conduct lab work and experience with data analysis and statistical methods
• Computer literacy, specifically skilful use of MS office packages, graphics software etc.
• Ability to work independently, but also within an interdisciplinary research team are paramount.
• Basic knowledge of paleoclimatology, paleoecology and in vertebrate biology
• Very good written and oral communication skills are required.
• Writing of publications in English for peer-reviewed scientific journals is expected.

The position will be for a fixed term of 3 years. Earliest anticipated start is 1st of July 2023. Salary and benefits are according to a public servant position in Germany (50% of the salary level TV-L E13). The place of employment will be at Mainz, Germany. Some analyses will take place at the University of Bonn as well as in other collaborating institutions.

Your application should include: (1) letter of motivation, stating why you apply and your research interests, (2) curriculum vitae, (3) degree certificates, (4) MSc thesis and/or publications (if applicable), (4) contact details of at least two referees. Please submit your application before 1th June 2023 via e-mail as a single PDF file to: Prof. Dr. Thomas Tütken:

Contact Name

Prof. Dr. Thomas Tütken

Contact Email

Link to More Information

Closing Date

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Expiry Date

Monday, July 31, 2023
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