PhD position, global ocean circulation modeling - Corvallis, OR, USA

The College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University in Corvallis, USA, seeks a graduate student (MS or PhD) for research in modeling global ocean circulation and the cycling of neodymium isotopes.


Funding is available for three years for highly motivated students with good physics and math background and a desire to work with complex computer code and observations from the modern and paleo ocean.


Isotopes of the rare earth element Neodymium (Nd) have been proposed as a tracer of past ocean circulation. However, the processes that determine the distribution of Nd isotopes in the modern ocean are still not well understood. Most previous work has assumed exchange of Nd in bottom water with sediments along shallow continental boundaries, which varies in their isotopic signature because of the age of the continental crust, but ocean models applying this process have difficulties reproducing observed distributions of Nd isotopes in today's ocean.

The project will conduct a comprehensive computer modeling study testing a new idea: the bottom-up hypothesis, which suggests input of Nd from deep sea sediments to the water column everywhere in the ocean, including the deep abyssal plains far away from continents. Model results will be compared to measurements from the international GEOTRACES program.

Implications of the hypothesis to enable estimates of bottom water flow speeds will be explored through simulations of the ocean during the last ice age. This study may transform our ability to reconstruct deep circulation in past oceans, which is important to better understand cycling of carbon and other biologically and climatically important elements. A model description paper, webinars, and a cross-disciplinary workshop will benefit the larger ocean sciences community. Early-career scientists, graduate and undergraduate students will be supported.


For more details and instructions on how to apply, go to:

Further information

Contact Andreas Schmittner: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.