2 June 2015

Two new Marie Curie fellowship projects started in Earth Sciences

In the past months two European Individual Fellowships have been granted to members of the Department of Earth Sciences under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme and the new projects have now started. 

Dr. Martin Ziegler is awarded the fellowship for his proposal ‘A clumped isotope laboratory for the Netherlands (CLUMPLAB)’. 

Analysis of the geologic record shows that Earth’s climate changed often, suddenly, and jumped swiftly, sometimes into extreme states, many times in its history. What is the exact nature of these climate changes? What can we learn from past changes about modern climate change? Such questions are investigated in the field of paleoclimatology. The backbone of paleoclimatology is the reconstruction and accurate quantification of key climate parameters in the past. In this context, the goal of CLUMPLAB is to better constrain past temperatures through the application of a new and powerful paleo-thermometer: clumped isotopes in carbonates. Currently, Europe as a whole is underrepresented in the clumped isotope research community. CLUMPLAB will bring the first clumped isotope facility in the Netherlands. The technique will be applied on climate archives to produce novel temperature records for the Early Eocene greenhouse climate period (55-52 million years ago). The results will help to improve our understanding of the climate’s sensitivity to greenhouse gas forcing.

Dr. José Mogollon is awarded the fellowship for his proposal ‘Disentangling anthropogenic and natural causes for global coastal hypoxia (COASTAL HYPOXIA)’.

Dissolved oxygen is an essential substance for a large portion of marine biota. Hypoxia, the reduction of dissolved oxygen concentrations to levels which are detrimental to the health of aerobic organisms, is currently expanding throughout the world's coastal areas, creating a negative impact from both the environmental (e.g. reduced biodiversity, reduced population growth, formation of 'dead zones') and economical (loss of fisheries) perspectives. Through the development and usage of local to global scale biogeochemical models, this research addresses past, present, and future formation of hypoxic 'dead zones' as a result of human-induced nutrient pollution and climate change. These topics are relevant for both industry and society, as they include the effects of changing river nutrient export to coastal marine ecosystems on the increasing frequency, extent, and duration of hypoxia. These studies will serve to further constrain nutrient reduction strategies and their effect on the amelioration of hypoxia in various coastal environments.

Both fellowships have a duration of two years.