The Yale Center for Natural Carbon Capture (planetarysolutions.yale.edu/center-natural-carbon-capture) is seeking multiple Postdoctoral Associates and non-tenure track Research Scientists in the broad area of carbon capture, with training in disciplines as diverse as oceanography, ecology, mathematics, statistics, biogeochemistry and geosciences. We welcome applicants with research interests in four key areas: 1) enhanced mineral weathering in agricultural settings; 2) ocean uptake, circulation and alkalinity enhancement; 3) radiative budgets in mangrove, tidal marshes, and seagrasses (i.e., blue carbon); and 4) and applied synthesis in forests and agriculture. All positions will be awarded for one year with the opportunity for renewal for a second year and include a salary commensurate with experience, plus health-care benefits. Interested applicants should apply for positions in one of the four research areas described here: planetarysolutions.yale.edu/center-natural-carbon-capture_groups. Applicants are asked to provide a short statement of research interests, a curriculum vitae with a full list of publications, and three confidential letters of reference. Applications will be considered starting on November 15, 2021 and continue until all positions are filled.
Yale University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer. Yale values diversity among its students, staff, and faculty and strongly welcomes applications from women, persons with disabilities, protected veterans, and underrepresented minorities.
1. Applied Synthesis in Forests and Agriculture
Improved management of forests, croplands and pastures is considered essential if we are to both meet the 1.5°C climate target and avoid overshooting it by 2050. This highlights the urgency to select management strategies, and where geographically they should be applied, to achieve the greatest climate mitigation in the near-term. Such decision making has been hampered by uncertainties regarding how mitigation will scale with specific management practices, given that many of these have, historically, been based on coarse resolution, global assessments of CO2 sequestration potential. Decision makers, by contrast, have to make choices about management interventions at the regional-to-local scale on which lands are owned or leased. There is a pressing need then for fine-scale, regional-level estimates of the climate mitigation potential of management choices. We are interested in synthesis work to estimate the climate mitigation potential of four relatively understudied natural resource management areas that have significant mitigation potential. We intend to study and to develop best practices for: 1) Silvopasture systems across Latin America, 2) Plantation forestry mosaics in lands that were once tropical forests but converted originally to pasture or arable crop production, 3) Northeastern US secondary forests, and 4) Cropland management in the U.S. to build soil organic carbon. Those interested in leading one of these areas as a postdoctoral associate should submit their materials online at apply.interfolio.com/95196 and address their materials to Professors Mark Bradford and Mark Ashton.
2. Enhanced Mineral Weathering in Agricultural Settings
Agriculture is responsible for a large portion of current greenhouse gas emissions, but agricultural lands are commonly regarded as having a tremendous potential for carbon dioxide sequestration. Our goal is to provide insights into the relatively nascent natural climate solution of enhanced mineral weathering (EMW) in agricultural settings. The project will include laboratory, field trial and synthesis components. The field component will involve trials of mineral application to agricultural lands in collaboration with farmers in Connecticut and the Midwest to understand actual rates of carbon sequestration and what barriers could hamper widespread implementation. We will initially focus on traditional industrial agricultural practices (row cropping). We will take a holistic approach to greenhouse gas reduction in agricultural settings—focusing on carbon sequestration via mineral weathering, organic carbon storage, shifts in acid-base balance linked to fertilizer application, crop rotation, and nitrous oxide and methane emissions. We will use data from the field trials to verify and/or fine-tune physicochemical models (i.e., reactive-transport models) that will be used to estimate the potential for greenhouse gas reduction via EMW and explore what ‘scaled-up’ applications of EMW might yield in terms of regional, national, and global levels of carbon sequestration. The scientists needed to answer these questions include agronomists and atmospheric dynamicists working closely with geochemists, geochemical modelers and economists. We are interested in having postdoctoral associates, and research scientists at all career stages working on the project. The project will be led by Professors Noah Planavsky, Pete Raymond, Mark Bradford, Yuan Yao, Jim Saiers, Juan Lora, and Xuhui Lee. Applications should be submitted online at apply.interfolio.com/95195.
3. Blue Carbon
Coastal vegetated ecosystems, such as mangrove forests, salt marshes and seagrass meadows provide a range of ecosystem services including habitat for biodiversity, food and fiber for local communities, and structural protection from shoreline erosion and flooding. Increasingly, coastal wetlands are also being evaluated in terms of natural climate solutions because of their ability to store disproportionately large amounts of ‘blue carbon’ in their sediments and biomass. Unfortunately, a variety of anthropogenic and climatic drivers that include coastal development and conversion to aquaculture, sea level rise, and the increase in extreme weather events are all leading to rapid impacts on and loss of coastal ecosystems around the world. In addition to habitat loss, which results in a decreased ‘blue carbon’ sink, we also lack fundamental understanding of how elements cycle through coastal ecosystems, which is essential for future ‘blue carbon’ assessments and management at broad scales. To close the ‘blue carbon’ budget, significant research is required to better understand the drivers and magnitude of lateral carbon fluxes, greenhouse gas emissions vs. carbon storage before restoration of coastal ‘blue carbon’ ecosystems can be reliably used for climate mitigation. We are looking for a postdoctoral scholar to provide a re-assessment of blue carbon efficacy by considering all three greenhouse gas fluxes (i.e., CO2, CH4 and N2O), and the lateral organic and inorganic carbon exports (including alkalinity) and to engage stakeholders to incorporate the latest science and decision-support tools into conservation, coastal management and ‘blue carbon’ activities. The project will be led by Professors Pete Raymond, Noah Planavsky, Jim Saiers, and Xuhui Lee. Applications should be submitted online at apply.interfolio.com/95202.
4. Ocean-Based Carbon Capture and Storage: Mineral Weathering and Alkalinity Enhancement
The oceans have a large but still rather poorly constrained potential for carbon dioxide sequestration. This project aims to investigate the ocean environment, from seafloor processes to gas exchange at the ocean surface, to better understand the potential for large-scale oceans-based carbon capture and storage. We will examine a range of physical and chemical processes relevant to the approach of enhanced weathering of minerals to enhance alkalinity (reduce acidity) and draw atmospheric carbon dioxide into the ocean. Effectively scaling up ocean-based carbon removal will require understanding the dynamic ocean environment into which minerals are dispersed. Relevant parameters include ocean temperature and salinity, stratification strength, mixed-layer depth, rates of sedimentation, regional circulation including tides, turbulence and ocean mixing, and air-sea gas exchange. These aspects of the ocean system will be examined in the context of enhanced mineral weathering as a viable method of large-scale carbon sequestration. Specific research topics include investigating optimal wind/wave settings for mineral dust deposition, rates of mineral dissolution across a range of marine environments, and the unintended negative consequences of enhanced mineral weathering in the oceans. We seek postdoctoral associates from a broad range of backgrounds including physical oceanography, geochemistry, marine physics, chemistry and atmospheric dynamics. The project will be led by Professors Mary-Louise Timmermans, Dave Bercovici, Pete Raymond, and Noah Planavsky. Applications should be submitted online at apply.interfolio.com/95210.