Postdoctoral Researcher in (Bio)geochemistry and Hydrology

Oak Ridge National Laboratory | Posted Feb 28, 2024

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The Plant-Soil Interactions Group within the Environmental Sciences Division (ESD), Biological and Environmental Systems Sciences Directorate (BESSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) seeks a postdoctoral researcher with expertise in environmental (bio)geochemistry and hydrology. This researcher will use a suite of analytical tools to understand biogeochemical processes in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, with a particular emphasis on how biogeochemical processes respond to variable hydrology and salinity.

The candidate will directly support the project “Biogeochemical controls on phosphorus cycling in urban-influenced coastal ecosystems” funded by the DOE Early Career Research Program. The objective of this research is to evaluate how coastal biogeochemistry is shaped by large-scale water diversions along the Louisiana Gulf Coast.

The specific aims of this research are to (1) evaluate how water level, redox potential, and salinity vary spatially and in response to seasonal and episodic disturbances; (2) examine how a suite of biogeochemical solutes that include phosphorus are mobilized into soil solution across redox and salinity gradients; (3) quantify inorganic and organic phosphorus reservoirs within wetland soils across different seasons; and (4) explore how mobilization of soil phosphorus responds to experimental redox and salinity manipulations. Findings from this research will inform process-based models being developed to simulate biogeochemical reactions in coastal systems and will be particularly beneficial to expanding modeling capabilities within the E3SM Land Model (ELM).

The selected candidate will have the responsibility of:

1. Independently and collaboratively leading field and laboratory studies to investigate one or more aims of the project.
2. Maintaining detailed scientific records, analyzing experimental data, presenting results within the research group and at national and international conferences, and preparing manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals.
3. Maintaining a safe work environment in compliance with safety guidelines.
4. Promoting a constructive and respectful work environment.
5. Delivering ORNL’s mission by aligning behaviors, priorities, and interactions with our core values of Impact, Integrity, Teamwork, Safety, and Service. Promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility by fostering a respectful workplace – in how we treat one another, work together, and measure success.

Basic Qualifications:

1. A PhD in Geosciences, Earth and Environmental Sciences, or a related field with a strong focus on biogeochemistry, completed within the last 5 years
2. A strong record of independent and productive research, as indicated by conference presentations and/or publications in peer-reviewed journals.
3. Ability to work independently and collaboratively as part of a large multidisciplinary team, and should be able to design and execute experiments, perform data analyses, and interpret experimental results.
4. Excellent interpersonal, oral, and written communication skills.

Applicants cannot have received their Ph.D. more than five years prior to the date of application and must complete all degree requirements before starting their appointment. The appointment length will be for up to 24 months with the potential for extension. Initial appointments and extensions are subject to performance and the availability of funding.