PhD, paleolimnology in subtropical lakes - Auburn, AL, USA

A PhD position in paleolimnology and paleo-cyanotoxins in subtropical lakes during the Holocene is available at Auburn University, Alabama, USA.


The position will be advised by Dr Matthew Waters and is funded through the National Science Foundation.

The student will be enrolled in the Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciencies PhD program at Auburn University, an R1 public research university in Auburn, Alabama, USA.

A competitive stipend and tuition waiver will be provided over the three-to-four-year duration of the project.

Expected start date is between July and October 2021.


A PhD Assistantship is available to study the triggers of cyanotoxin production (microcystin and cylindrospermopsin) throughout the Holocene utilizing paleolimnological techniques.

The student will be part of a three-graduate student team investigating cyanotoxin production from modern to ~10,000 years before present in subtropical and tropical lake systems.

The student will reconstruct nutrient inputs (C, N, P), cyanobacteria abundance (photosynthetic pigments), and paleo-cyanotoxins from sediment cores collected from six lakes throughout the southeastern USA.

Through collaboration with the project team, these results will be integrated into a multi-lake, multivariate data set that will be used to identify drivers of cyanotoxin production through time in the SE USA.

The project offers the opportunty to gain experience in field data collection, paleolimnological techniques, statistical analysis, interdisciplinary collaboration, and stakeholder interaction.


Experience with soil/sediment analysis, HPLC, cyanotoxin analysis, paleolimnology or limnology is preferred.

Applicants should have completed a MS degree by the project start date.


Applicants from a range of disciplinary backgrounds will be considered, including paleolimnology/paleoecology, ecology, geosciences, soil sciences, and environmental sciences.

Applications from underserved groups in STEM are highly encouraged to apply.

Review of applications will start 15 November 2020.

Interested students should contact Dr Matthew Waters with a CV and a brief statement of research experience and interests: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Further information

For an example of a similar pilot study for the project, please see: