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MS student opportunity Paleoclimatology Research at UMASS Amherst (USA)

Master of Science research: Paleoclimatology of the Yucatan Peninsula based on stalagmite trace element and stable isotope records. We are looking for a student to undertake MS research in the paleoclimate reconstruction of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico during the late Holocene and the last glacial interval. An opportunity to develop Systems Thinking and understanding the fundamentals of climate change on timescales relevant to the future and biological evolution.

Start Date: Spring Semester 2024

Funding available: 2 Years (via RA on Y1 and either RA or TA on Y2)

Deadline for submission: Applications will be reviewed until the position is filled.

This project aims to reconstruct tropical hydroclimate variability during the Holocene and Pleistocene time intervals by reconstructing precipitation patterns in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico regions. Stalagmite records from the Yucatan Peninsula will be used to analyze isotopic and elemental composition and understand the relationship between local precipitation and climate events. By integrating these records with climate model simulations, the project seeks to identify the mechanisms driving hydroclimate change before human interference. The findings will contribute to predicting future hydrological changes in the highly vulnerable Caribbean region and provide educational opportunities on caves and groundwater.

The successful candidate will:

-Work in the paleoclimatology and stable isotope lab at UMASS, Amherst, under the direction of Professor Martin Medina Elizalde.

-Analyze the carbon and oxygen isotopic composition and elemental ratios of stalagmite deposits.

-Analyze the stable isotopic composition of water and soils samples from the study cave in the Yucatan Peninsula and assess its environmental conditions.

-Integrate paleoclimate results from speleothems and climate models. There may also be potential to participate in a field trip to the Yucatan Peninsula to visit the main cave site.


-Bachelor’s degree in Earth Sciences, geosciences, geology, or environmental sciences.

-Strong motivation in working in the areas of paleoclimatology, paleoceanography and geochemistry.

-Good computational skills and ideally some experience using MATLAB and/or R.

Further information:

Please contact Prof. Martín Medina Elizalde (mmedinaeliza@umass.edu) at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

To apply:

applicants are required to submit the official application to the Master of Science in Geosciences program at UMASS, Amherst, along with their CV and a concise letter of interest. The letter should highlight the applicant’s experience, qualifications, and research interests relevant to this opportunity. Candidates are encouraged to send their letters of interest to Prof. Medina before submitting the official application to receive early feedback on their application.

Dr. Martín Medina-Elizalde

Associate Professor Department of Geosciences

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

627 North Pleasant Street

233 Morrill Science Center

Amherst, MA 01003-9297

Phone: (413) 545-2286

Fax: (413) 545-1200

Email: mmedinaeliza@umass.edu

website: medinaelizalde.net