Please find below details of three exciting marine ecology / biogeochemistry PhD positions in Edinburgh and Glasgow currently open for applications:
PhD 1: Using genetics, physiology & modelling to improve marine ecosystem conservation (based at the Lyell Centre, Edinburgh)
In collaboration with the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh and Scottish Natural Heritage, this project will combine genetics, physiology and modelling to improve the evidence-base that currently supports maerl bed conservation. Maerl beds – diverse ecosystems formed by accretions of free-living red coralline algae – are one of Europe’s most ecologically and economically important marine ecosystems. Scotland is a European maerl bed stronghold, but current protection is based on a paucity of empirical data. Throughout the project, the student will work towards research objectives designed to improve management and conservation practice, forming recommendations underpinned by robust, multi-disciplinary scientific evidence. To achieve this, the student will combine field and laboratory experimentation, developing technical skills in spatial modelling, environmental genetics, bioinformatics and ecophysiology. Fieldwork will be conducted around the UK, with potential opportunities in the wider NE Atlantic (e.g. Iceland, Norway). Application deadline: 31st January 2018.
PhD 2: Blue carbon in a changing world (based at University of Glasgow)
Carbon sequestration by natural systems may be a solution for slowing down atmospheric CO2 increases. The sequestration of carbon into ocean sediments by marine ecosystems for long-term storage is termed ‘blue carbon’, to differentiate it from carbon stored in terrestrial ecosystems such as forests. Coralline algae are a globally ubiquitous, highly calcified type of macroalgae (i.e. seaweed) found from the intertidal to the lower limit of the photic zone (300+ m), forming vast reef-like structures that harbour high biodiversity at multiple trophic levels. Accumulations of coralline algae create deposits (known as maerl beds) spanning the last 20,000 years. There is evidence that these beds store significant quantities of carbon, acting as globally-important blue carbon repositories. This project will investigate the spatio-temporal response of blue carbon to environmental change, using the extensive maerl beds in Scotland. The student will utilise a multi-disciplinary approach that will combine field and laboratory research, developing skills in carbon biogeochemistry, stable isotope ecology, marine carbonate chemistry and spatial modelling. Partnership with Marine Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage will allow the scholar to directly engage with marine policy and management, providing a unique opportunity for multi-sector experience and research-policy translation. Application deadline: 18th December 2017.
PhD 3: Role of coralliths in coral reef recovery and expansion (based at University of Edinburgh)
The ecosystem services provided by coral reefs are worth over $100 billion annually and include coastline protection, tourism, food and medical derivatives. There are significant efforts in place to protect these ecosystems, but to further optimise these efforts we need to fully understand their ecology. Coralliths (mobile corals) are found in reef systems worldwide, and have typically been regarded simply as an ecological curiosity. Emerging evidence has highlighted that coralliths can in fact play a fundamental role in habitat provision on reefs, and have done so since the Pleistocene(1) through the ‘free living stabilisation’ hypothesis. However, the prevalence of this service provision, the species that can become coralliths, and the role of corallith growth in facilitating species expansion remain key knowledge gaps. The PhD scholar will address these knowledge gaps through a multidisciplinary laboratory and fieldwork approach in collaboration with Operation Wallacea. Understanding the drivers behind corallith formation, and the mechanisms by which they can create habitat would provide key information for future coral reef integrated management: firstly by allowing us to understand potential disaster-recovery processes on reefs not managed, and secondly whether they should be integrated in managed reef conservation efforts.
Application deadline: 11th January 2018.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like any further information.
Lyell Centre for Earth and Marine Science and Technology
Source: MARINE-B, the MArine Research Information NEtwork on Biodiversity