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We have 22 Marine Biology PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships



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Marine Biology PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships

We have 22 Marine Biology PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships

Studying a PhD in Marine Biology would give you the chance to study ocean life through an extended research project. You could be investigating the effects pollution is having on sea life, attempting to improve how we promote ocean sustainability or developing better methods for tracking organisms.

What’s it like to do a PhD in Marine Biology?

As a Marine Biology PhD student, you’ll develop skills in a range of areas, from field work to in the laboratory. Depending on your exact project, you’ll spend more or less time in the field, but almost every project includes the opportunity to gain at least some field work experience.

Some typical research topics in Marine Biology include:

  • Studying microplastics in the ocean
  • Developing methods of promoting ocean sustainability
  • Improving current methods of tracking sea life
  • Studying an organism from the ocean in detail
  • Investigating the effects of pollution on sea life
  • Studying how organisms adapt to environmental change

Almost all Marine Biology PhD programmes are advertised projects with attached funding. The additional cost of fieldwork or bench fees makes it challenging to self-fund either an advertised project or one you have proposed. This cost, as well as the difficulty finding an institution and supervisor with the expertise and equipment suitable for your research, makes proposing your own research uncommon in Marine Biology.

A general field day will consist of either sampling, measuring, or observing organisms or their environment. This may include tagging individuals from a certain species or counting their population. Other days will involve analysing previously collected data, either in the laboratory or using techniques from data science and statistics.

Upon completion of your final year, you’ll write a thesis of roughly 60,000 words that will contribute to the knowledge of your field. During your viva exam you’ll then defend your work and if successful, be awarded your PhD.

Entry requirements

The entry requirements for most Marine Biology PhD programmes involve a Masters in a subject directly related to Biology, at Merit or Distinction level. If English isn’t your first language, you’ll also need to show that you have the right level of language proficiency.

PhD in Marine Biology funding options

The research council responsible for funding Marine Biology PhDs in the UK is the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). They provide fully-funded studentships including a stipend for living costs, a consumables budget for bench fees and a tuition fee waiver. Students don’t apply directly to the BBSRC, you apply for advertised projects with this funding attached.

It’s uncommon for Marine Biology PhD students to be ‘self-funded’ due to the additional bench fees. However, if you were planning to fund yourself it might be achievable (depending on your project) through the UK government’s PhD loan and part-time work.

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Defining how inter-bacterial symbioses regulate aquatic ecosystem health (PhD Project)

Planktonic bacteria play crucial roles in regulating the productivity, health and function of aquatic ecosystems. Recent evidence suggests that the growth and ecological impacts of aquatic bacteria is potentially strongly regulated by previously over-looked inter-bacterial interactions. Read more
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Impact of underwater noise pollution on the early life history of cartilaginous fishes

Masters Degree by Research. Ocean soundscapes are rapidly changing due to an increase in anthropogenic (human-made) noise, which is having profound effects on marine animals, including fishes. Read more
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Shark cartilage: Biophysical, environmental and regenerative adaptations to hydrostatic pressure

We are seeking a highly motivated PhD candidate to investigate the biophysical, environmental and regenerative adaptations of shark cartilage in a range of species from shallow water to deep-sea. Read more

Microbial adaptations for life within the plastisphere

The project aims to better understand the plastisphere ecosystem and the adaptations that have been evolved in marine organisms to colonize, live and consume plastic surfaces. Read more

Primary production and carbon export across the Flamborough frontal system: interaction with offshore wind energy

This PhD scholarship is offered by the Aura Centre for Doctoral Training in Offshore Wind Energy and the Environment; a partnership between the Universities of Durham, Hull, Newcastle and Sheffield. Read more
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Optimising marine image capture and analysis from autonomous underwater vehicles (MICA)

Apply Here. This is an exciting and unique opportunity to join a team of researchers developing and optimising automated (artificial intelligence (AI)-based) analysis of image and acoustic data as applied to seabed characterisation. Read more

Give and take – substrate shuttling in microbial communities on macroalgae

Background. Diatoms are photosynthetic microalgae that contribute to approximately 20% of global CO. 2. fixation. These algae were for a long time considered as phototrophs using exclusively photosynthesis to serve their metabolic requirements. Read more
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Understanding microbial processes in the deep Pacific

The deep seafloor covers about 70% of the Earth’s surface and is home to a diversity of life, mainly microorganisms. To survive in this extreme environment where there is no sunlight, often extremely cold and at very high hydrostatic pressures (e.g. Read more
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PhD Position Examining Consequences of Cardiac Morphological Deviations in Atlantic Salmon

A PhD position dedicated to elucidate the consequences of deviating heart morphology in farmed Atlantic salmon is available from summer 2023 at Oslo University Hospital Ullevål, Norway. Read more

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