The Department of Earth Sciences at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada is seeking creative, self-motivated candidates for a fully funded Ph.D. position, focusing on compound specific isotope analysis of amino acids in organic paleoceanographic archives. This position leverages significant investments in ocean science at Dalhousie through the recently established Ocean Frontier Institute, internationally recognized expertise in biogeochemistry, brand new state-of-the-art laboratory dedicated to compound specific isotope analysis of amino acids, as well as ship time on the Canadian research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen.

Working under the supervision of Dr. Owen Sherwood and in collaboration with members of the Oceanography and Biology departments, the student will develop and apply novel biogeochemical proxies for nutrient-plankton dynamics in the Arctic and subarctic oceans. Using records preserved in deep-sea corals and sediments, the overarching goal will be to reconstruct changes in plankton productivity in relation to sea ice extent during the Holocene. For examples of the scientific approach please see recent articles by Sherwood et al. (2014) and McMahon et al. (2015).

Experience with Gas Chromatography and/or Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry and strong analytical and writing skills will be considered assets. Prospective candidates should have completed a Masters degree or equivalent with a minimum A minus average. The position is available to be filled any time before the summer 2018 field season. To apply, please send a cover letter and curriculum vitae to: Dr. Owen Sherwood, Department of Earth Sciences, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 4R2, Canada. E-mail:, subject line: PhD search

1. Sherwood OA, Guilderson TP, Batista FC, Schiff JT, McCarthy MD (2014) Increasing subtropical North Pacific Ocean nitrogen fixation since the Little Ice Age. Nature 505: 78-81. doi:10.1038/nature12784
2. McMahon KW, McCarthy MD, Sherwood OA, Larsen T, Guilderson TP (2015) Millenial-scale plankton regime shifts in the subtropical North Pacific Ocean. Science 350: 1530-1533. doi:10.1126/science.aaa9942

Dalhousie University is recognized internationally for our world-class academic programs and as one of Canada’s leading research institutions. With our 200th anniversary on the horizon in 2018, Dalhousie welcomes talented scholars to our home by the ocean and to join our mission to make a lasting impact through the discovery, advancement and sharing of knowledge. Dalhousie is also home to the headquarters of the Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI As an international hub for ocean science focused on the Northwest Atlantic and Canada’s Arctic gateway, OFI brings together elite researchers and institutes from across the globe to understand our changing oceans and create sustainable solutions for ocean development. The Department is ranked fourth among Earth Sciences departments in Canada by MacLean’s Magazine and is currently in a faculty growth phase. The main campus is situated in Halifax – a city known for its youthful spirit, rich history, and scenic waterfront. Information about the Earth Sciences department, current faculty, and research and teaching programmes can be found at: