PhD project offered by the IMPRS-gBGC in

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Project description

The composition of urban dust is important for health aspects in densely populated areas. Also vegetation habitats with low natural nutrient supply, like orchid meadows, and lakes are influenced by metal complexes from fossil fuel combustion.
The influence of dust from industrial sites and power plants in comparison to local sources like traffic and glass production plants ideally can be investigated in Jena. Geogenic background values of heavy metals can be determined from pre-industrial dust deposits in the tributary valleys of the Saale and from >4000 geochemical analyses of rocks in the River Saale Catchment, available from literature. In this project, e.g. Rare Earth Element patterns will be applied for the identification of sources of dust. Sites in the Thuringian Mountains and in the Halle-Leipzig-Bitterfeld industrial area, with different industrial focusing and land use, can give further implications for local and far-travelled dust particles. The proposed project will address the following research questions:
  1. Inorganic-geochemical composition of urban dust as the most likely pathway of heavy metal incorporation into humans?
  2. Identification of geogenic versus anthropogenic sources of heavy metals and other trace elements?
In order to address these research questions, the candidate will perform active and passive collection of dust in the center and surroundings of Jena and other Central German cities by analysis of spider webs, snow, rainfall, air filters, biomass and topsoil; microscopic material description; geochemical material characterization including As, heavy metals, Rare Earth Elements, by distinguishing between total and bioavailable contents using Inductively-Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry.

Working group and planned collaborations

Dr. habil. Michael Pirrung, geologist at the Institute for Geosciences Jena
Dr. Dirk Merten, geochemist, head of the hydrogeochemical laboratory at the Institute for Geosciences Jena
Cooperation will be established with the Thüringer Landesanstalt für Umwelt und Geologie, that monitors dust deposition in the city of Jena and other Thuringian cities, and with the Office for Environment of the community of Jena.

Requirements

Applications to the IMPRS-gBGC are open to well-motivated and highly-qualified students from all countries. Prerequisites for this PhD project are:
  • a Master’s degree in Geosciences or Biogeosciences or Chemistry
  • experience in (geo)chemical or mineralogical techniques for material characterisation
  • interest in anthropogenic versus geogenic sources of heavy metal pollutions
  • very good oral and written communication skills in English

After you have been selected

The IMPRS-gBGC office will happily assist you with your transition to Jena.
The conditions of employment, including upgrades and duration follow the rules of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science and those of the German civil service. The gross monthly income amounts about 2000 EUR, which will cover all your expenses in Germany.
The Max Planck Society seeks to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply. The Max Planck society is committed to increasing the number of individuals with disabilities in its workforce and therefore encourages applications from such qualified individuals.

(a) Dust emissions are a local to global phenomenon; (b) Dust generated by traffic is omnipresent in cities; (c) Dust of wet and dry deposition can be collected by containers ...; (d) ... or by spider webs; (e) Outcrops of Pleistocene loess deposits represent geogenic background information.
(a) Dust emissions are a local to global phenomenon; (b) Dust generated by traffic is omnipresent in cities; (c) Dust of wet and dry deposition can be collected by containers ...; (d) ... or by spider webs; (e) Outcrops of Pleistocene loess deposits represent geogenic background information.


>> more information about the IMPRS-gBGC + application