Ph.D. Graduate Student Opportunity at Otago: Trace Metal Limitation of Phytoplankton Growth

We are seeking an enthusiastic and highly motivated student to undertake a fully-funded PhD project investigating trace metal nutrient limitation of phytoplankton growth in New Zealand lakes.

The project will involve working with a team of lake and geochemical scientists from the University of Otago, the National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA), and Cawthron Institute, New Zealand.

The student will play a key role in the project coordinating the various aspects of the research, and addressing the following key research questions:

-What are the concentrations of key trace metals in lakes in the TVZ and is there seasonal variation in the bioavailability of and demand for trace metals?

-Are trace metals limiting growth of phytoplankton and in particular of cyanobacteria?

-What are the rates of nitrogen fixation by cyanobacteria and are they affected by trace metal availability?

-Is phytoplankton species composition affected by availability of trace metals and other nutrients?

The project involves clean room chemistry, water pre-concentration methods, and sector field inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (SF-ICPMS) for the quantification of trace metals in TVZ lake waters and phytoplankton culture experiments. A moderate amount of fieldwork for lake water sampling will be required.

Applications received on or before 30 November, 2017 will be considered for this position.

Contact Dr Piet Verburg (T: +64 (07) 867 1787; E: or Dr Claudine Stirling for further information about the project.

Additional information about the Department of Chemistry at the University of Otago, NIWA and Cawthron Institute can be found at, and

For more information please read the attached pdf:PHD_opportunity_Trace_metal_nutrient_limitation_of_phytoplankton.pdf

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