PhD: Role of the world's deepest living marine algae
in the global carbon cycle

REF: EGIS2016HB


Marine photosynthesis supports almost all ocean life and is a vital component of the global carbon cycle. Uptake of carbon for photosynthesis is also an effective method of 'locking up' atmospheric carbon over long timescales, and may form a vital part of our long-term strategy towards reducing atmospheric CO2 levels and mitigating climate change. Our current understanding of marine photosynthesis is mostly focused on shallow-water systems such as seagrass meadows, coral reefs or surface plankton blooms, but some marine photosynthesisers are able to survive in the deeper waters known as the mesophotic zone.

The world's deepest living marine photosynthesisers are the globally distributed red coralline algae. Incredibly, these algae have been found at depths of over 300 m, but the mechanisms behind their ability to photosynthesise at such low light levels is currently unknown. This project will seek to understand these mechanisms in the context of defining the role of coralline algae in the marine carbon cycle. The student will utilise a multi-disciplinary approach that will combine field and laboratory experimentation, developing skills in organic carbon biogeochemistry, carbonate chemistry, ultra-fast fluorescence and scanning electron microscropy.

The student will be based at the Lyell Centre for Earth and Marine Science and Technology, which opened in March 2016. This 21 million collaborative venture provides world-class facilities for marine and geoscience research, including a state-of-the-art research aquarium and biogeochemistry laboratory. Fieldwork opportunities in Honduras, Brazil or Greece will be possible, providing field validation to laboratory-based work. Wider engagement with non-academic partners in the UK and internationally will set the project within the wider policy context.

Funding Notes

This is a full scholarship which will cover tuition fees and provide an annual stipend of 14,296 for the 36 month duration of the studentship. The funding is available to UK, EU and international students.

Eligibility

Applicants should have a first-class honours degree or a 2.1 honours degree plus Masters (or equivalent) in a relevant subject. Highly motivated applicants with a qualification in marine / environmental science, biogeochemistry or biophysics, and an interest in advanced biogeochemical and fluorescence techniques are particularly encouraged to apply. Scholarships will be awarded by competitive merit, taking into account the academic ability of the applicant.

How to Apply

Please complete our online application form: http://www.hw.ac.uk/student-life/how-to-apply/postgraduate.htm

You must quote the full project title and reference number on your application form. You will also need to provide: a CV, supporting statement, copy of your degree certificate and relevant transcripts, proof of your ability in the English language (if English is not your mother tongue or if you have not already studied for a degree that was taught in English), and references from two academic sources.

Informal enquiries should be addressed to Dr Heidi Burdett: h.burdett@hw.ac.uk

Timetable

The closing date for applications is 31st January 2017. Interviews will be held in February 2017. Project start date is flexible, but should start no later than October 2017.

posted: 18 November 2016     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.