Student Opportunities

Graduate student positions – Trace metal biogeochemistry – Texas A&M Oceanography

The Fitzsimmons Lab in trace metal biogeochemistry in the Department of Oceanography at Texas A&M University seeks creative and motivated graduate students at the Masters and/or PhD level to join the lab in Fall 2018. Our research explores the distribution, physicochemical speciation, and isotope ratios of trace metals in seawater in order to better understand the cycling and biological usage of essential micronutrient and contaminant metals in the oceans. We are a sea-going group, collecting our samples on research cruises and then analyzing them back in the laboratory. Our primary analytical tool is inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), which is housed in the Williams Radiogenic Laboratory in the College of Geosciences at Texas A&M.

Potential research projects include (but are not limited to) 1) processes controlling distributions of dissolved and colloidal metals on the U.S. GEOTRACES Pacific Meridional cruise; 2) the development of x-ray synchrotron methods to explore the physicochemical speciation of colloidal iron in marine and coastal waters; 3) the measurement of toxic heavy metals transport to coastal Texas waters in Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico; and 4) the measurement of iron stable isotope ratios in seawater to gain knowledge of the source and/or processes modulating metal distributions in the oceans (Antarctic and Pacific samples). Opportunities for participation in oceanographic cruises will be available and encouraged.

Students should have a strong background in one or more of the following disciplines: chemistry, biogeochemistry, oceanography, and/or earth science. Strong chemistry skills, excellent written and oral communication in English, and enthusiasm are required. Experience on oceanographic research cruises, in clean labs, and/or with ICP-MS is desirable.

**Application process**

Interested and qualified candidates should send an email describing their motivation and research interests along with a CV to Dr. Jessica Fitzsimmons <>. Formal graduate applications to Texas A&M Oceanography are due January 1st, 2018. Financial support for graduate students is available from research assistantships, teaching assistantships, and university fellowships. Application to outside funding sources is also encouraged.

*About Texas A&M Oceanography*

Texas A&M University is a top-100 university located in College Station, TX, between the metropolitan cities of Austin and Houston, TX. It is a land-, sea-, and space-grant university with a dynamic and international community of 172,000 people situated on 5200 acres of land. Oceanography graduate faculty are housed primarily in College Station, with associated scientists and graduate students also on the Galveston campus. The more than 30 faculty and 60 graduate students in Oceanography sail across the world to learn more about the ocean’s physical, geological, chemical and biological properties. The academic curriculum emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to discovering the connection between the oceans’ past, present, and future. Research ranges from monitoring the hypoxic levels and algal blooms of the Texas Gulf Coast to the understanding the influence of climate change on the fragile ecosystems of the Arctic and Antarctic. The department also maintains close ties with the Geochemical and Environmental Research Group (GERG), which is an applied research group that serves to link academic education and research to the real-world needs of government and industry. GERG expertise includes buoy design, fabrication, deployment, ocean monitoring and modeling, as well as environmental contaminant assessments of soil, water, air and organisms. The Oceanography department also works closely with the rest of the Texas A&M College of Geosciences, which includes the Departments of Atmospheric Sciences, Geology and Geophysics, and Geography, the Berg-Hughes Center for Petroleum Sedimentary Systems, the Integrated Ocean Discovery Program (IODP), and Texas Sea Grant. Altogether this School includes >100 research faculty, >200 research and administrative staff, and >350 graduate students.

PhD opportunity, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia

The biogeochemistry of trace elements in the Australian sector of the Southern Ocean:
GEOTRACES-SR3 repeat section from Tasmania to Antarctica

University of Tasmania | Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies | Hobart, Australia

Contact: Andrew Bowie

Project Description

The Southern Ocean influences climate, sea level, biogeochemical cycles and marine productivity on global scales. Observations suggest that rapid change is already underway in the Southern Ocean, but the measurements are sparse and hence the nature, causes and implications of Southern Ocean change are not yet understood. This exciting PhD project will contribute to a multi-disciplinary observational program measuring a comprehensive suite of physical and biogeochemical variables along a full‐depth repeat hydrographic section extending from Australia to the Antarctic sea ice edge.

The candidate will join a research team on a 42 day oceanographic voyage of the Marine National Facility’s Research Vessel ‘Investigator’ in the Southern Ocean in early 2018, that will study the marine biogeochemistry of trace elements and their isotopes (TEIs) along the SR3 section (~140oE), a signature field program of the ACE CRC. Following the fieldwork, the candidate will participate in laboratory analyses and experiments using state-of-the-art facilities and instrumentation to determine the distributions, physico-chemical form and sufficiency of micronutrient trace elements in the Southern Ocean, and their relationships to changing environmental conditions. In the latter stages, this project will feed vital information on the prevalence and flux of trace elements into biogeochemical and ecosystem models of the region.

Funding Notes

Lodge an application for candidature and scholarship online through the University’s Online Application portal, StudyLink by 30th September 2017.
View Website

Suitable for graduates with degrees in :
Chemistry (preferably Analytical), any Earth or Environmental Science discipline, Oceanography/Marine Science.

Essential skills/experience:
Experience working in a laboratory, where attention to detail is important
Knowledge of geochemistry, biological science and analytical chemistry
Excellent written and oral communication skills
Excellent organisational skills and self-motivation

Desirable skills/experience:
Familiarity with marine biogeochemistry
Experience working at sea
Familiarity with biogeochemical modelling tools, software and platforms

For further information:



 Data Product (IDP2017)


 Data Assembly Centre (GDAC)


Subscribe Mailing list

Contact us

To get a username and password, please contact the GEOTRACES IPO.

This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. Find out more on how we use cookies and how you can change your settings.