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Application deadline:   31st March 2019

The Departments of Geology and Botany at Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin, seek applicants for a 4-year fully funded PhD-project, to assess the link between large igneous province volcanism and past climate change, carbon cycle perturbations and global mass extinctions.

The project:

Deadly kiss of the LIPs:

Did Large Igneous Province volcanism cause global carbon cycle change and mass extinction in Earth’s past?

Project description

Earth history is marked by major climatic and environmental change events, often associated with major global carbon cycle perturbations and marine and terrestrial mass extinction. These events have been linked to Large Igneous Province (LIP) volcanism, through which millions of cubic kilometres of volcanic (basaltic) rock were emplaced onto the Earth surface within 104–106 years, potentially leading to the rapid and massive release of greenhouse gasses (e.g. CO2 CH4) and toxic compounds into the ocean-atmosphere system.

Two of the largest of these events occurred in the Early Jurassic (from ~201–175 million years ago) and are known as the Triassic–Jurassic Mass Extinction (~201.5 million years ago) and the Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event (T-OAE; ~183 million years ago), which have been tentatively linked to the emplacement of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province and the Karoo-Ferrar Large Igneous Province, respectively.

Major uncertainty, however, exists on the timing and intensity of Early Jurassic LIP volcanism, the associated elevated fluxes of carbon and toxic compounds (e.g. mercury) into the global ocean-atmosphere system (impacting on atmospheric pCO2 and ecosystem toxicity), and their potential causal role in initiating positive and negative feedback mechanism and associated changes in global climate and the environment across the Early Jurassic and particularly during the Triassic–Jurassic Mass Extinction and the Toarcian OAE.

The project will study Early Jurassic marine and continental sedimentary archives in Europe and China that hold crucial physical, chemical and biological materials and information to constrain the mechanistic processes that governed two of the largest climatic, environmental change and mass extinction events in Earth’s past.

The project will focus on 3 integrally linked Research Objectives:

1) To quantify the magnitude of Early Jurassic carbon release and sequestration, and associated changes in the global carbon cycle and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations;

2) To constrain the magnitude and intensity of Large Igneous Province volcanism and the associated release of toxic compounds, and its (causal) link to past, elevated carbon release, climate change and mass extinction;

3) To astrochronologically quantify the timing and magnitude of changes in Early Jurassic carbon and mercury fluxes into the global ocean-atmosphere system, and the rate of change in atmospheric pCO2.

Person specification

Applications are invited from students who can demonstrate a solid background in integrated stratigraphy, organic/inorganic geochemistry, palaeobotany, palaeoceanography and/or palaeoclimatology. Passion for laboratory work, as well as fieldwork and/or core sampling, and a keen interest and self-motivation for solving problems is essential. Candidates must have an excellent, relevant geoscience honours degree or a geoscience MSc degree.

This project will cover full tuition fees (EU or non-EU) for a period of 4 years for a new entrant fulltime PhD candidate. The candidate will receive a stipend of €16,000 per year. The projected start date is 1st September 2019.

The PhD student will be based at Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin, at the Department of Geology, and will be co-hosted at the Department of Botany, both at the School of Natural Sciences. She/he will be expected to undertake national/international fieldwork and/or core-sampling activities, as well as present results at national and international conferences.

If interested, please apply by sending an e-mail containing (in PDF-format): (1) a full CV (when applicable including a publication list), (2) a cover letter stating why you are interested in this project, and why you and your academic background make you the ideal candidate for this project, and (3) the names and contact details of two academic referees, to Dr Micha Ruhl. See contact details at the bottom of this page.

The closing date for applications is March 31st, 2019. Enquiries for further details can be directed to Dr Micha Ruhl or Prof Jennifer McElwain.

Trinity College Dublin

Founded in 1592, Trinity is at the nexus of tradition and innovation, offering undergraduate and postgraduate programmes across 24 schools and three faculties: arts, humanities, and social sciences; engineering, maths and science; and health sciences. Spread across 47 acres in Dublin’s city centre, Trinity’s 17,000-strong student body comes from all 32 counties of Ireland, and 16% of students come from outside the country. Of those, 40% are from outside the European Union, making Trinity’s campus cosmopolitan and bustling, with a focus on diversity.

Further details of the Geology Department, the School of Natural Sciences and Trinity College Dublin can be accessed at:

This doctoral project is funded as part of Trinity’s ‘Provost’s PhD Project Award’ Program, which are generously funded through alumni donations and Trinity’s Commercial Revenue Unit.

The PhD student will also be part of the Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences (iCRAG). iCRAG is funded under the SFI Research Centres Programme and is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and industries. Further details of iCRAG can be accessed at:

Contact information

Dr. Micha Ruhl

Department of Geology

Museum Building

Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland



Personal website:

Prof Jennifer McElwain

Department of Botany

Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland





Application deadline:   March 2019


爱尔兰政府奖学金奖励学术出众的学生(申请需自主撰写研究课题,通过国际评审委员会评审,每年资助1000-1500名学生)去和感兴趣领域的导师做博士 (奖学金涵盖学费,生活费及一定的科研经费)。


I am interested in supporting motivated and ambitious students from the People's Republic of China, to pursue a PhD-study at Trinity College Dublin.

Interested prospective students can contact me, and can consider funding from the China Scholarship Council (CSC) – Trinity College Dublin Joint Scholarship Programme



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