PhD in ocean instrumentation and biogeochemistry

Department: Oceanography
Job type: PhD Student, Full time
Location: Narragansett, RI, USA

—- How to apply —-
Please email CV, brief statement of interest, and a list of 3 references to Brice Loose (

—- Applicant Qualifications —-

  • University degree in Engineering, Statistics, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Sciences, Biology or related areas.
  • Strong interest in data analysis, willingness to learn and apply tools of multivariate statistics and machine learning.


  • Masters’ degree and demonstrated interest in PhD level research.
  • Willingness to participate in upcoming and ongoing field programs.
  • Scientific computing experience in Python, R or Matlab.
  • Training in statistics, mathematics, programing or geochemistry are all advantageous.
  • Prior experience with chromatography, vacuum systems, control and automation.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills.

About the URI Graduate School of Oceanography
The University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography consistently ranks in the top 10 of academic institutions in oceanography and ocean exploration. Major advances in knowledge of the oceans arise from the research, education and public service that takes place at GSO. These advances result from strong investigator-driven research and a uniquely dynamic and integrative curriculum.
The University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography strives to be an internationally recognized premier oceanographic institution conducting fundamental and applied research to understand our changing ocean planet. We educate marine scientists, policymakers, business leaders and citizens and help develop the knowledge and skills necessary to address present and future marine challenges.

About the project in Terra Nova Bay.
The properties of deep water produced in the southern hemisphere are exhibiting a secular increase in temperature that may indicate a decrease in the deep water formation around Antarctica. Coastal polynyas are thought to be the most important sites for southern-sourced bottom water production, and these coastal regions are also experiencing freshening, changes in sea ice drift and coverage, and in some locations, changes in atmospheric temperature, precipitation, and wind speeds. To capture the causal links between Antarctic coastal processes and changes in the deep ocean system requires the study of polynya processes during the winter period of intense ocean heat loss and sea ice production.
Our previous research into the noble gas concentrations in deep water indicates that sea ice plays a determining role in setting the dissolved gas properties of the deep ocean. The noble gases (He, Ne, Ar, Kr, and Xe), dissolved in seawater, contain a fingerprint of sea ice and other physical processes that ultimately determine gas content in the deep ocean. Profiles of discrete noble gas samples, as well as high frequency O2, Ar, N2 and CO2 have been collected using a benchtop mass spectrometer (MIMS) on the seawater line and underwater mass spectrometer (UMS) on the CTD rosette. This project will (1) investigate solutions to directly observe glacial melt using the UMS (2) interpret noble gas samples (3) to conduct laboratory experiments to understand gas partitioning during freezing, (4) analyze the MIMS and UMS data, and (5) synthesize field and experimental results with PIPERS and related projects. This unique data set will provide new measurements and insights into air-sea exchange, glacial melt, and sea ice in driving the solubility pump and determining the degree of (dis)equilibrium that exists at the time that surface water is transformed into the dense shelf water and ultimately Antarctic Bottom Water.
Understanding the cascade of mechanisms that drive changes in the ocean circulation support our predictive capacity for future climate and ocean ecosystems. The results developed in this proposal will contribute to the Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS) theme of The Future and Consequences of Carbon Uptake (CO2) in the Southern Ocean.