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Ph.D. Student Opportunity!

Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky (US)
Four years of guaranteed support as TA or RA
Closing date
Nov 2, 2022

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Geochemistry, Global Environmental Change, Interdisciplinary/Other, Ocean Science
Career Level
Student / Graduate
Education Level
Job Type
Relocation Cost
No Relocation
Sector Type
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Job Details

We seek motivated students to complete graduate studies (Ph.D.) in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Kentucky ( with a focus on applying our world-class sedimentological and radiochemical (137-Cs, 210-Pb, 14-C) toolkits to questions associated with a recent NSF Frontier Research in Earth Sciences (FRES) award to understand the processes responsible for increasing methane releases from river delta sediments/soils.

You will join a diverse team of faculty, staff, and students working at four universities (UTKnoxville, UK, LSU, Rowan) and the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) to consider how and when coastal wetlands change from being carbon sinks to methane emission sources as sea-level rises. This 5-year project has three goals, to
(1) Identify present-day controls on methane emissions
(2) Assess methane emission variability from coastal wetland soils impacted by relative sea level rise
(3) Use field observations and experimental data across different spatiotemporal scales to expand our ability to model methane emissions from wetlands

Our components of this research include the collection and characterization of marsh sediment cores – physical sedimentology – radiochemistry – elemental analysis – sediment age dating – data integration into landscape transition models. Field sites are located throughout the Terrebonne-Timbalier Estuary within the Mississippi River Delta in Louisiana (LA). The field program is considerable and will include bi-annual to annual trips to LA each year to conduct field sampling and participate in outreach and other activities. Students will build expertise in field sampling,
sedimentology, stratigraphy, radiochemistry, elemental chemistry, surficial processes, and public outreach; while being part of a large and diverse research group providing exposure to microbiology, genetics, aqueous geochemistry, landscape transition modeling, geochemical modeling, and leadership mentoring. Graduate students in our program are fully funded through a combination of TA and RA positions, and this project includes multiple years of RA support. Preference is for students with a > 3.0 GPA (4.0 scale) and backgrounds in sedimentary geology, surficial processes,
or marine science. A strong work ethic, comfort in field and laboratory environments, a positive attitude, strong communication skills, and an interest in authoring scientific publications are musts. Those interested are encouraged to contact Dr. Kevin Yeager ( for more information. Positions are available starting in January 2023 or August 2023.


The University of Kentucky is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity university that values diversity and is located in an increasingly diverse geographical region. As a land-grant institution and Kentucky’s flagship university, UK is committed to becoming one of the top public institutions in the country. Women, persons with disabilities, and members of other underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply.
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