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Droughts (water stress) and extreme heat events (rising temperature and vapor pressure deficit (VPD)) can drastically reduce carbon uptake via downregulating photosynthesis, and can trigger tipping points such as widespread vegetation mortality. Researches into the mechanisms governing when, where and how trees die have revealed that plant xylem hydraulic traits are the predominant significant predictors of cross-sites and species patterns in drought response of ecosystem functioning. Specifically, water stress-induced declines in xylem water potential, deteriorates the hydraulic conductance of xylem tissue and forms embolisms that impair water transport, cascading a series of failures of key dependent processes (e.g., gas exchange, photosynthesis, phloem transport), leading to tissue desiccation and ultimately to vegetation mortality. Furthermore, plant hydraulics convolute with subsurface soil water/heat/carbon dynamics, which make the soil-water-plant-energy interaction an intricate topic.
Remote sensing of fluorescence and plant-hydraulics-based vegetation models are state-of-the-art approaches to monitor and predict drought responses of ecosystem functioning. In EcoExtreML project, you are expected to enhance/reinforce the coupling between the vegetation photosynthesis model (SCOPE) with the soil moisture/heat model (STEMMUS, considering dynamic root growth), synergized with Earth-Observation data, to understand how water-carbon dynamics of ecosystem vary with variable environmental and climate stress. You are expected to work with a multidisciplinary team, consisting experts from vadose zone hydrology, ecohydrology, remote sensing, big geodata analytics, machine learning, as well as eSciences.
University of Twente (UT)
- A PhD degree in soil science, ecohydrology, remote sensing, computer science, geosciences or a related field;
- A strong background in Earth system science, process-based (soil/biogeochemical) modelling, numerical methods (FDM/FEM), artificial intelligence, machine learning and remote sensing;
- Strong skills in scientific programming and computing (e.g., in Matlab, Python, Fortran);
- Demonstrated scientific creativity that has preferably resulted in scientific publications;
- Excellent communication skills and English language proficiency, and like to communicate your research to a broader audience;
- You have an open mind towards applying open science principles;
- You have an affinity with a multi-cultural education environment, excellent work ethics and commitment to the job.
Conditions of employment
We offer you a fulltime position in an inspiring and challenging multidisciplinary and international environment for a period of three years. Salary and conditions will be in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement (CAO-NU) of the Dutch Universities.
- Gross monthly salary between € 2,836.00 and € 5,211.00 depending on experience and qualifications (job profile Researcher level 4 or 3).
- A holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.3%;
- A solid pension scheme;
- Minimum of 41 holiday days in case of full-time employment;
- Professional and personal development programs;
- Support for research and project management tasks;
- Costs for moving to Enschede may be reimbursed.
The WRS Department works in the domains of Water and the Environment, focusing on water, food, energy and ecosystems security and sustainability. The department uses Earth observation and in-situ ground truthing in combination with hydrologic and Earth systems modelling and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for the assessment and monitoring of the water, energy and biogeochemical cycles to support planning and management of water resources, freshwater and coastal ecosystems under global change.