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Scotland’s Deep-Water Blue Carbon Resources: Sources, Rates and Fates

  • Funded PhD Programme (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Programme (European/UK Students Only)

Profile Description

Supervisor(s): Professor William (Bill Austin), University of St Andrews (Lead); Professor John Baxter, University of St Andrews; Dr John Howe, Scottish Association for Marine Science.

Project Description:
Sedimentary Carbon stores across large expanses of our sea floor are increasingly recognised as an important component of natural capital, offering a range of ecosystem services – the most prominent of which is the potential to sequester and store vast amounts of Carbon. Globally, efforts are underway to map a first-order understanding of these sedimentary Carbon stores, but to date there has been little focus on deep-water ecosystems. This project is aligned to the strategic priorities of developing a deep-water Marine Protected Area off Scotland's west coast and will provide an opportunity to embed the consideration of the Blue Carbon resource within the area at the outset of the designation process and the subsequent consideration of the necessary management measures that will be required.
The project will deliver on a series of ambitious goals: (i) to map the distribution of sedimentary Carbon within the deep-water region west of Scotland, establishing new approaches to up-scaling estimates (and uncertainties) in deep-water Carbon content; (ii) to understand the rates of Carbon sequestration and the sources of that Carbon as they accumulate on the sea floor; (iii) to quantify the long-term burial term for Carbon to help build-up an improved understanding of the millennial-scale Carbon stock and to frame this in the context of adjacent shelf and terrestrial Carbon stock estimates; (iv) to undertake an assessment of the current impacts and likely benefits to Blue Carbon under the proposed MPA designation and in so-doing identify priority areas and action for protection.

The supervisors have expertise in the relevant fields, both Howe (SAMS) and Austin (USTAN/SAMS) have extensive experience of work in the area of shelf-slope sedimentary systems and stratigraphy spanning nearly 30 years; Baxter (USTAN) has extensive experience of MPA designation and policy-facing work after a long and extended career with SNH; all three are members of the Scottish Blue Carbon Forum and have an excellent track-record of PhD supervision and collaborative working with Marine Scotland.

Deadline for Application: Saturday 1 June 2019 Midday GMT

Entry Requirements: A good first degree in a cognate subject

How to apply: Please see our webpage on details of how to apply.

Questions should be addressed to Prof Bill Austin at .

Funding Notes

Type of Funding: National Environmental Research Council (NERC) SUPER DTP PhD Studentships Competition. Please see our webpage for funding details - View Website

Eligibility: Please see our webpage for details of eligibility. - View Website

How good is research at University of St Andrews in Geography, Environmental Studies and Archaeology?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 36.50

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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