Postdoc Research Fellow, speleothem paleoclimatology, Bergen, Norway

The Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research and Department of Earth Science at the University of Bergen, Norway, seek a postdoc to work on clumped isotopes and fluid inclusion isotopes in speleothems from Borneo and South Africa.


The position is for a fixed term of three years and is associated with the T-TRAC project and SapienCE (Centre for Early Sapiens Behaviour), a new centre of excellence (both financed by the Norwegian Research Council).

Preferred starting date is 1 September 2018.


The postdoctoral fellow will be part of a team reconstructing past temperatures from speleothems from Borneo and South Africa. Our team are applying state-of-the-art techniques such as fluid inclusion microthermometry, clumped isotope thermometry, and fluid inclusion isotope analysis. The postdoctoral fellow will take part in building a new fluid inclusion extraction line for isotope analysis using our existing Picarro instruments and will be responsible for the clumped isotope thermometry and fluid inclusion isotope measurements in selected samples.

For our Borneo research, these methods have been successfully applied to a pilot sample, and will now be used to derive paleo-temperatures across the last 500,000 years within the T-TRAC project. We will mostly work on previously studied, well-dated speleothem samples, but in addition will strive to close a remaining time gap in the record. To this end, the postdoctoral fellow will perform U-Th dating of candidate stalagmites in collaboration with Professor Jess Adkins at the California Institute of Technology that will incorporate a research stay at this institute within the first year.

Analysis of the speleothems from South Africa is aimed at reconstructing paleo-environmental conditions during the period 100-50 ka, in collaboration with archaeologists in the framework of the transdisciplinary SapienCE SFF Centre of Excellence. Current archaeological evidence highlights 100-50 ka as being a watershed for human cognitive, technological and social developments in Africa. More research is needed to understand where, when and why early humans started to think and behave like we do today. Improved understanding of the environmental conditions such as climate change under which these developments occurred is a critical piece of this puzzle.

The postdoctoral fellow will have the opportunity to take part in fieldwork in South Africa and/or Borneo. The affiliation of this position with both the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research and SapienCE will offer ample opportunities for cross-disciplinary exchange and collaboration.

Work tasks

- Sample preparation for carbonate isotope and fluid inclusion analysis
- Clumped isotope measurements
- Contribute to setting up a crushing line for fluid inclusion measurement
- Fluid inclusion isotope measurements
- U-Th dating of candidate stalagmites in collaboration with Jess Adkins, Caltech (aided by technician at Caltech)
- Co-supervision of master students
- Data interpretation and collaboration with climate modelers.

Qualifications and personal qualities

- Applicants must hold a Norwegian PhD or an equivalent degree within Earth Science, Environmental Science, or a related discipline or must have submitted his/her doctoral thesis for assessment prior to the application deadline. It is a condition of employment that the PhD has been awarded.
- Prior experience in speleothem research is of great advantage
- Hands-on experience with the analysis of stable isotopes in carbonates and/or water is highly valuable
- Hands-on experience with fluid inclusion analysis in speleothems is an advantage
- Experience and excellent skills in experimental work and technical problem-solving is valuable
- Applicants must be able to work independently and in a structured manner, and have the ability to cooperate with others
- Applicants must have excellent skills in oral and written English


The deadline is 31 May 2018.

Applications must include:
- A brief account of the applicant's research interests and motivation for applying for the position
- The names and contact information for two referees. One of these should be the main advisor from the PhD programme
- CV
- Transcripts and diplomas and official confirmation that the doctoral thesis has been submitted
- Relevant certificates/references
- List of any works of a scientific na ture (publication list)
- Publications (as applicable)

Further information

For further details about the position, please contact Dr. Anna Nele Meckler, Department of Earth Science, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Tel +47 555 83530

The full position description and link to apply can be found here: