Project 12. Assessing the impact of land use and climate change on particulate metal transport to the oceans

Primary Employer: Landsvirkjun (Energy Co.), Reykjavik, Iceland

PhD Programme: University of Iceland, Science Institute, Reykjavik, Iceland (3 years)

Metals are transported to the oceans either as dissolved species in the water or as suspended particles. Suspended particles can affect biological activity and water quality and control dissolved species through various interactions, but also represents an important part of nutrient cycles and the carbon cycle. Data for rivers in NE Iceland suggest that the suspended material flux is much more dependent on discharge rate than are dissolved species, and thus more sensitive to climate change and land use. Dam construction on some of those rivers has filtered out the suspended particulate load, changing the nature and chemistry of the metals transported to the ocean, and providing a venue for determining the impact of changing particulate loads on metal transport. This project will examine the natural elemental and isotopic variations accompanying seasonal changes in runoff prior to dam construction with special focus on chemical reactions within the glacier environment of the river catchments. These results can be compared with the present-day (post-dam) downstream variations seen in both the dissolved and suspended particulate flux. This will allow assessment of the impact of dam construction, land use, and climate change on weathering in river catchments and on the elemental and isotope composition of material delivered to the oceans.

The researcher will be based at Landsvirkju and University of Iceland in Reykjavik ( as part of their PhD programme under a joint agreement between the Landsvirkjun and the University. We envision strong collaboration with other partners where for example isotope measurements will be done at Durham, Oxford and Toulouse.

Employment and eligibility. The PhD candidate will be employed for three years by Landsvirkjun and enrolled at the University of Iceland. Applicants should hold a degree in Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Chemistry, or other relevant field. Details regarding requirements for applying to the PhD program at the Department of Geological Sciences can be found at

As required by European Commission Marie Curie Training Network regulations, at the time of recruitment by the host organisation, applicants must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers (since the time of undergraduate degree or equivalent). Also, applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc) in Iceland for more than 12 months in the last 3 years.

For further information regarding the position or the MetTrans Network, send an email to Sigurdur R. Gislason, University of Iceland or Hakon Adalsteinsson at Landsvirkjun.

Application. The application must be in English and include a cover letter, curriculum vitae, certificates of examination results according to the requirements listed at the website above, and two reference letters. It should be sent to Sigurdur R. Gislason, University of Iceland. The deadline for the first round of applications is March 30, 2012. Female and minority applicants are encouraged to apply.

Final applications by the selected candidate is required in electronic format ( and should be sent after the decision by the selection committee, with a copy to Hafdís Eyjólfsdóttir, project manager of graduate studies, tel: +354 525 4473, e-mail: