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Postdoctoral Research Associate

Durham University
United Kingdom
Salary Not specified
Posted date
Aug 6, 2021

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Position Type
Faculty Positions, Science, Technology & Mathematics, Geology & Earth Sciences
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time
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The Role

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Cambrian stratigraphy, with a particular emphasis on constraining the timing of key evolutionary events during the Cambrian 'explosion'.

The Research Associate will join a research programme led by Martin Smith (PI, Earth Sciences), Andrew Millard (Archaeology) and Tom Nye (Statistics, Newcastle University). Funded by the Leverhulme Trust, this research project is developing new quantitative tools to infer evolutionary processes from the geological record, with a particular focus on the origin of complex animal ecosystems in the 'Cambrian explosion'.

The successful applicant will organise and conduct fieldwork to obtain and process geochemical and biostratigraphic samples from sections spanning the earliest Cambrian (Terreneuvian), particularly targeting δ13C isotopic ratios, zircons for radiometric dating, and small shelly / small carbonaceous fossils. Working with two PhD students and a second Postdoctoral Research Associate, the successful applicant will synthesize available data into a Bayesian framework. This will generate precise stratigraphic correlations between independent geological sections, allowing simultaneous analysis of geochemical, ichnological, biostratigraphic and sequence stratigraphic information, and the integration of absolute radiometric age estimates.

The principal output, a coherent reference stratigraphy for the latest Ediacaran-early Cambrian, will contribute to the formalization of the Cambrian timescale, and will allow statistical tests of the synchroneity of biological and geochemical events - and thus inference about causal links between evolutionary innovations and environmental change during the Cambrian explosion.

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