Postdoctoral fellowship: The land-sea continuum; burial of terrestrial carbon in marine sediments

Umeå University is one of Sweden’s largest institutions of higher education with over 37,000 students and 4,800 faculty and staff. We are proud to have world-leading research in several scientific fields and a multitude of educations ranked highly in international comparison. Umeå University is also the site of the pioneering discovery of the CRISPR-Cas9 genetic scissors – a revolution in genetic engineering that has been awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

At Umeå University, everything is nearby. Our cohesive campus environment makes it easy to meet, collaborate and exchange knowledge, which promotes a dynamic and open culture where we rejoice in each other’s successes. Read more about Umeå University at: Work with us.

Project description

Nature-based solutions to climate change are recognised as a mechanism for drawing down carbon from the atmosphere. Together with geoengineering, this natural solution is required for reduction of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in the atmosphere which are contributing to global warming. At the land-sea interface and continental shelf, sequestration and storage of carbon by marine ecosystems and sediments is a globally significant process that locks away carbon for hundreds to thousands of years. Importantly, the presence of both sequestration and efficient burial are required for marine systems to be effective nature-based solutions. For the subarctic, there is emerging evidence that at millennial time scales, ca. 50% of organic carbon buried in shallow-water marine sediments may be organic material derived from terrestrial and inland water systems via riverine discharge.

The source and type of the organic material entering the oceans will also determine the role marine sediment stores play in climate regulation and sensitivity to disturbance. In particular, sources of terrestrial organic material supplying primarily refractory carbon likely endow marine sediments with better capacity to act as a nature-based solution to climate change.

This two-year Postdoctoral Fellowship is funded by the Carl Tryggers Foundation. The Fellowship amounts to 300,000 SEK per year. Running costs for the project is covered by PIs. Application deadline Friday 31st March, 2023 at 23:59. Start mid 2023 (exact start date according to agreement).

Project advancement of the state of the art: We anticipate that the postdoctoral fellow will make key advances in carbon science by; 1) determining the riverine supply of organic carbon from differing terrestrial land uses, 2) its fate in marine waters and sediments, and 3) detecting marine hotspots of organic carbon burial, as well as the carbon donor sources and pathways. These advances will be made by quantifying and determining the source (terrestrial vs. marine) and stability of organic carbon which are transported to and buried in marine sediments of the Baltic Sea along gradients of riverine discharge with contrasting land-use in .

The Postdoctoral Fellow will be placed in the Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences and spend time at the Umeå Marine Science Centre and the Climate Impacts Research Centre providing a multidisciplinary environment. The candidate will be supervised by a multidisciplinary team with complementary expertise in carbon cycling and analysis.


To qualify as a postdoctoral scholarship holder, the postdoctoral fellow is required to have completed a doctoral degree or a foreign degree deemed equivalent to a doctoral degree. This qualification requirements must be fulfilled no later than at the time of the decision about scholarship recipient.

Priority should be given to candidates who completed their doctoral degree, according to what is stipulated in the paragraph above, no later than three years prior. If there are special reasons, candidates who completed their doctoral degree prior to that may also be eligible. Special reasons include absence due to illness, parental leave, appointments of trust in trade union organizations, military service, or similar circumstances, as well as clinical practice or other forms of appointment/assignment relevant to the subject area.

Doctoral degree must be within one of the following fields: biology, biogeochemistry, chemistry, geography or earth science.

Essential criteria are:

  • Strong skills in organic / inorganic carbon analysis
  • Using stable isotope mass spectrometry to differentiate carbon compositions.
  • Good knowledge of oral and written English in a scientific context is required

Meriting criteria are:

  • Experience of isotope mixing models
  • Experience conducting field work in aquatic or marine systems (for example on research vessels or collecting samples from aquatic environments).
  • Experience of thermogravimetric analysis


A full application should include:

  1. A cover letter summarizing your qualifications, your scientific interests, and your motives for applying (max 2 pages),
  2. A curriculum vitae (CV) with publication list,
  3. Certified copy of doctoral degree certificate,
  4. Copy of doctoral thesis,
  5. Copies of relevant publications (max 5),
  6. Contact information for at least two reference persons

The application should be written in English (preferably) or Swedish. Your complete application, marked with reference number FS 2.1.6-472-23 should be sent electronically (in PDF format) to (with reference number on the subject line).

Further information

Evaluations will be based on the application and on interviews. For more information contact:

Professor Nick Kamenos, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences / Umeå Marine Science Centre,

Professor Jan Karlsson, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences / Climate Impacts Research Centre,

Dr Cristian Gudasz, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences,

We look forward to receiving your application.