PhD position, Reconstructing rapid Holocene Arctic climate change behaviour - Liverpool, UK

Liverpool John Moores University, UK, is offering a PhD position in "Reconstructing rapid Holocene Arctic climate change and glacier behaviour".


They seek a highly motivated individual with a background in Quaternary Science to investigate Arctic climate change and its impacts on glacier behaviour. Existing paleoclimate reconstructions identify a series of abrupt phases of rapid change during the Holocene. Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain these events, but their fundamental drivers remain debated. Attempts to resolve this matter are hampered by a scarcity of quantitative, high-resolution and robustly dated paleoclimate records.

This project will address this critical knowledge gap by combining multiproxy archives from a glacierized catchment in northern Icelan's Tröllaskagi Peninsula. Its location at the interface of Atlantic and Arctic waters, close to the sea-ice margin, means that this region is highly sensitive to regional climate change.

The successful candidate will combine high-resolution analysis of glacier-fed lake sediments – using a range of state-of-the art techniques such as XRF and CT core scanning – with surface exposure-dating of moraines, and catchment geomorphology including UAV photogrammetry of glacial landforms. Upon completion, this project will transform our understanding of glacier-climate interactions in a region highly sensitive to Holocene and future environmental change.

Supervisory team

Dr Tim Lane (Liverpool John Moores University, UK)
Dr Kathryn Adamson (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK)
Dr Willem van der Bilt (University of Bergen, Norway)
Dr Iestyn Barr (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK)
Dr Jason Kirby (Liverpool John Moores University, UK)

Plan of investigation

The 3-year PhD studentship involves fieldwork in northern Iceland to complete lake sediment coring, mapping, and surface exposure sample collection. Laboratory analyses will take place during the latter half of year 1 and throughout year 2. Thesis write up and publication preparation will take place during years 2 and 3. The study catchments will be mapped using field geomorphology and state-of-the-art UAV photogrammetry using LJMUs UAVs. Lake sediment cores will be analysed using cutting-edge methods that include CT scanning and iTRAX XRF core scanning.

Training and skills

The student will undertake fieldwork in Iceland, and laboratory work in the UK (Liverpool John Moores University, Manchester Metropolitan University) and Norway (University of Bergen). The student will receive training in field skills (e.g. lake coring, geomorphological mapping, geochronological sampling), laboratory skills (e.g. XRF, XRD, particle size, carbon analysis), UAV pilot training, and analysis of remotely sensed data.


The candidate must have a minimum of an upper second-class honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject, or an appropriate Master’s degree. Experience of fieldwork and sedimentological analysis is highly desirable.

Funding notes

Only UK & EU citizens can apply for this studentship. Funding will consist of full tuition fees for three years and the award of a living stipend at UK Research Council rates (2018/19 figure - £14,777). Funding will also consist of up to £1500 per annum towards project costs (bench fees). Funding will be subject to satisfactory progress.


Applications should be sent by 31 August 2018 to the Director of Studies Tim Lane: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and should include a CV and cover letter explaining your relevant experience to the project, and contact details of two referees

Further information

For an informal discussion about this opportunity, please email Tim Lane This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.