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  Assessing the Flux of Buried Sedimentary Carbon to Marine Coastal Waters After Extreme Weather and Dredging


   Research

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  Dr Shane O'Reilly, Dr Roisin Nash, Dr Denis McCrudden  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This PhD project is part of the Postgraduate Research Training Programme COASTAL CONNECTIVITY, which offers 12 PhD research scholarships to commence in 2024. Each project will include an enterprise placement of minimum 12 weeks duration and a bespoke training package in coastal management and research skills.

Humanity’s physical disturbance of the coastal seafloor has expanded considerably in recent decades through dredging, bottom trawling and more frequent severe storms. The natural ‘leak’ in the carbon cycle from burial of vast quantities of carbon in sediments and the removal of harmful persistent organic pollutants from aquatic ecosystems are essential services provided by sediments.Largescale seafloor disturbance can potentially release previously buried carbon to water and the atmosphere and also expose humans and ecosystems to harmful pollutants. This issue has received little research attention and is a blind spot for planners and policymakers. In this project, we will use bays and estuaries in the west and northwest of Ireland as testbeds to characterize carbon at the molecular level, quantify carbon pools being released from disturbed and pristine sediments and assess whether more ancient carbon and previously buried persistent organic pollutants are being released from sediments. This project is critical and timely; if we reveal a major threat to our coastal carbon cycle and ecosystems, we will help with more effective planning of future human marine coastal activities and inform climate action plans to ensure we keep this carbon in the ground.

Objectives of the research project :

  1. To identify and sample recently disturbed sites and pristine sites for sediment and water column sampling.
  2. To develop organic molecular and isotope indicators of disturbance events.
  3. To utilize remote sensing and deployed sensors to evaluate spatiotemporal parameters relating to re-exposure of sedimentary organic matter.
  4. To assess the ecological impacts of sediment disturbance on benthic and water column biota.
  5. Test our approach against regional and temporal models for sediment disturbance

A minimum of 2.1 honours degree (Level 8) in a relevant discipline.

Project Duration:

48 months (PhD)

Preferred Location:

ATU Sligo Campus

Applications:

Application Form / Terms of Conditions can be obtained on the website: https://www.atu.ie/TU-RISE

The closing date for receipt of applications is 5pm, (GMT) Monday 29th April, 2024.

Only selected applicants will be called for an online interview (shortlisting may apply).

Biological Sciences (4) Chemistry (6) Environmental Sciences (13) Geology (18)

Funding Notes

TU RISE is co-financed by the Government of Ireland and the European Union through the ERDF Southern, Eastern & Midland Regional Programme 2021- 27 and the Northern & Western Regional Programme 2021-27.
Funding for this Project includes:
• A student stipend (usually tax-exempt) valued at €22,000 per annum
• Annual waivers of postgraduate tuition fee
• Extensive research training programme
• Support for travel, consumables and dissemination expenses