Project 7. Trace metal transport across suboxic zones

Primary Employer: Luleå Technical University, Department of Chemical Engineering and Geoscience, Luleå, Sweden

PhD Programme: Luleå Technical University (5 years)

A complex redox barrier is formed at the interface between oxic and anoxic zones in the environment. Three redox elements, Mn, Fe and S, are the key players forming this barrier. They precipitate at different redox levels and form a layered interface, with precipitated Mn at the oxic side and precipitated S at the anoxic side, with Fe in between. This layered zone regulates the flux of a number of metals across the interface, because of scavenging by solid Mn, Fe and S phases. The layered zone, the suboxic zone, has O2 and H2S concentrations below detection. It seems reasonable to assume that this is formed and maintained by redox-driven cycling of Mn. The role of Mn for the cycling of redox-sensitive metals (Fe, Cr, Cu, Zn and U) will be studied, as well as how isotopic variations in these elements can be used to track metal transport across these layers. Samples will be collected from the pelagic suboxic zone in the Landsort Deep, Baltic Sea, from where background data is available, including Fe(II) measurements, and the area can be reached easily by boat. The ESR will be enrolled in the Luleå PhD programme. Isotope analyses of Fe will be done at Luleå, while other metals will be measured at other industrial analysis labs, including ALS in Luleå. Mineralogy will be studied at an experiment lab at another MetTrans institution, and modelling of metal cycling will be done with a modelling lab. The application of this data to records of past environments may be done with Shell.

Employment and eligibility

The PhD candidate will be based in Luleå and enrolled at Luleå University of Technology ( The researcher will hold a MetTrans contract for the first 3 years, divided between Luleå University of Technology and ALS. The final 2 years will be based at the University as part of the PhD programme.

Applicants should hold a degree in Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Chemistry, or other relevant field. 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 Sweden for more than 12 months in the last 3 years.

For further information regarding the position or the MetTrans Network, send an email to Professor Johan Ingri.


Applications must be in English and include a cover letter, curriculum vitae, certificates of examination results according to the requirements listed above, and two reference letters. Female and minority applicants are encouraged to apply. The deadline for the first round of applications is March 30, 2012.

Applications may be sent electronically to or by post to

Luleå University of Technology


SE - 971 87 Luleå