Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät

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Postdoc Project in Geomicrobiology

Fachbereich Geowissenschaften, Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät

The Geomicrobiology research group at the University of Tübingen is looking for a Postdoc who will work on:

‘Chemical signatures of magnetite produced by iron-­metabolizing bacteria‘

Magnetite is found in ancient marine sedimentary rocks, such as Banded Iron Formations (BIF) or carbonate platforms, some being 2.6 to 3.8 billion years old. The activity of iron-­metabolizing bacteria
has been proposed to be responsible for precipitation of magnetite crystals throughout much of the geological record. Within this project we will characterize the trace element composition of biomagnetite produced by Fe(III)-­‐reducing and Fe(II)-­‐oxidizing bacteria. The specific patterns of trace element incorporation into the biomagnetite will be quantified and compared with abiotic magnetite and previously studied magnetite crystals produced by magnetotactic bacteria. The goal is to uncover different partitioning patterns between the different conditions of magnetite precipitation, and as such, determine potential biosignatures of bacterial metabolic activity. We will also experimentally examine the fate of these potential biosignatures during pressure/temperature metamorphism to mimic magnetite fossilization.

Finally, we will compare the experimental results with the chemical composition of natural magnetite samples collected from Precambrian BIF and carbonates with the ultimate aim being to ascertain the presence of magnetite-­‐producing bacteria in Earth’s ancient history. This interdisciplinary project includes laboratory experiments with magnetite-­‐producing microbes, microscopic and geochemical analyses (SEM, TEM, laser-­‐ablation ICP-­‐MS) and analyses of magnetite in BIFs. The project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and will be performed in close collaboration with the Isotope Geochemistry Group of Prof. Ronny Schönberg at the University of Tübingen, Prof. Kurt Konhauser (Univ. Alberta, Canada) and Dr. Matthieu Amor (UC Berkeley).

We are offering a Postdoc position in an interdisciplinary, international, and dynamic team of geochemists, microbiologists, and geoscientists. This position provides an opportunity for the candidat to be creative and innovative, and to work on a challenging topic that combines various fields. Ideal candidates should have a solid background in geochemistry, mineralogy and geomicrobiology. Applicants must have the ability to work independently and in a team, have excellent management and communication skills, and should be highly motivated and committed to pursuing interdisciplinary research. Good computer and language skills (English) are necessary. The candidate will have the opportunity to present his/her results in international journals and conferences.

The starting date is November 1st 2016 or as soon as possible thereafter. The employment (TVL E13,
100%, 2 years) will be arranged by the administration of the University of Tübingen. Disabled persons will be preferred in case of equal qualification.

Applications including CV, motivation letter, and overview of techniques and methods used in the past should be send by email before July 31st, 2016 to:

Prof. Dr. Andreas Kappler, Geomicrobiology group, Center for Applied Geosciences, University of Tübingen Sigwartstrasse 10, D‐72076 Tübingen, Germany. Email: andreas.kappler@uni-­‐

More information including recent publications can be found on our website.

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