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School of Geography

ENVGE0089 – Research Technician 

Fixed Term for 24 months 

We are seeking an enthusiastic Research Technician to work on a project aiming to improve our understanding of the past and current variability of the hydrological cycle of the Amazon basin. The Amazon basin is a major centre for atmospheric convection, and thus changes in the hydrology of the basin as a result of climate change or changes in vegetation cover, may influence climate globally. Existing records of the Amazon hydrological cycle (river discharge, and precipitation) reveal that the amazon is experiencing a substantial intensification. In this project we aim to better understand this recent trend by collecting new tree ring and water isotope data from the Amazon basin, and combining these data with existing records and modelling techniques. 

This project will involve the collection of tree ring samples from South-America, sample preparation and tree ring measurements, and the analysis of oxygen isotope ratios in tree rings. You will carry out preparations and measurements of tree rings and isotope ratios from different sites from the Amazon basin in the laboratories of the Schools of Geography and Earth and Environment. You are also expected to be able to join a field team on a ca. 3-week fieldtrip to collect new tree ring samples from one additional site in the Amazon rainforest. The laboratory work will involve sanding tree ring cores, marking and measuring tree rings, cutting tree ring samples, and chemical extraction of cellulose from the tree ring samples at the lab of the School of Geography, followed by weighing and packing samples on a microbalance and performing isotope measurements with the mass spectrometer at the COHEN lab of the School of Earth and Environment. 

You will hold a first degree in Geography, Environmental Science, Ecology, Climatology, Hydrology, Chemistry or a related science based subject. You will have experience of working in a laboratory setting and are able to work independently and improve on the current work-stream and laboratory set-up. You will also be an excellent team worker and possess excellent communication skills. Experience with tree ring analysis or with isotope analysis and measurement is highly desirable. 

University Grade 6 (£24,766 - £29,541) p.a. 

Informal enquiries may be made to Dr. Roel Brienen, tel +44 (0)113- 343 338, email r.brienen(at) or Dr. Rob Newton, email r.newton(at)

Closing Date: 1 December 2013