PhD position in Mercury Biogeochemistry in Oxygen Minimum ZonesExternal

News Overview

Contact: Lars-Eric Heimbürger-Boavida
E-mail: lars-eric.heimburger [at]
website: MIO Website

The Marseille Marine Mercury Laboratory at the Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography (MIO) and the Mercury Isotopes Group at Geosciences Environment Toulouse (GET) are seeking to recruit a scientist for a fully-funded 3-year PhD position to work at at the frontiers of trace metal oceanography, analytical sciences, stable isotopes biogeochemistry, and ecology. This PhD position is funded via the ANR (Agence Nationale de la Recherche) MERTOX project (2017-21) “Unraveling the origin of methylMERcury TOXin in marine ecosystems” (PI David Point, GET). Mercury is global pollutant and a neurotoxin with a serious health risk for humans, mainly via the consumption of marine fish. Anthropogenic Hg emissions have largely altered natural Hg levels. Bacteria feeding on sinking marine organic matter in the mesopelagic zone are thought to produce the toxic methylmercury species (MMHg) that bioaccumulates along the marine trophic chain to harmful levels.

The main goal of this PhD project to study mercury biogeochemistry in oxygen minimum zones (OMZ), and to develop new stable isotope tools for a better understanding of the marine biogeochemical Hg cycle. The MERTOX case study will be conducted in the Peruvian Humboldt OMZ, which is very productive, exhibits extreme redox gradients, and is known to enhance in situ MeHg production.

The PhD student will be based at the MIO (Lars-Eric Heimbürger, Sophie Bonnet, Marseille, France) and will closely collaborate with the GET laboratory (David Point, Jeroen Sonke, Toulouse, France) for stable isotopic analysis and with IMARPE (Michelle Graco, Lima, Peru) to explore and document Hg biogeochemistry in the Humboldt OMZ.

For a full description of the position, including details on how to apply, please download the PDF below.