Norwich Research Park Featured PhD Programmes
University of Exeter Featured PhD Programmes
Norwich Research Park Featured PhD Programmes

Award details Using marine historical ecology approaches to understand past ecosystem responses across major cultural transitions PhD Funded Ref: 4162

   College of Life and Environmental Sciences

  Dr Ruth Thurstan, Prof Callum Roberts  Monday, November 01, 2021  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Exeter United Kingdom Ancient History History Marine Biology Marine Sciences Medicine

About the Project

This studentship is part of the European Research Council (ERC) funded Synergy project ‘SEACHANGE: Quantifying the impact of major cultural transitions on marine ecosystem functioning and biodiversity’ (2020-2026) led by Professor James Scourse at the University of Exeter (grant ref 856488).

Project Description

We are looking for a student with a strong interest and experience in the collation and analysis of written and material historical sources for understanding historical dynamics in coastal marine ecosystems, and analysing how changes to these systems responded to, or potentially drove, major cultural transitions in human history.

The SEACHANGE project will reconstruct marine ecosystem baselines and quantify the impact of important cultural transitions on marine ecosystems. You will work alongside a team of academic staff, postdoctoral researchers and PhD students who will combine a series of well-established and emerging techniques to answer research questions on the impact of anthropogenic cultural transitions on marine biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. The wider team will examine archaeological, paleoenvironmental, and ecosystem data from cultural transitions across North West Europe, Iceland, and Australia spanning the last few centuries to several thousand years. You will form a part of this team, focusing upon written and material collections documenting change in coastal and marine ecosystems over the last few hundred years, with an initial focus upon the North Sea region and with the opportunity to expand your studies to other sites in line with SEACHANGE objectives.

Within SEACHANGE you will be working alongside experts and students from the UK, Europe, Australia and beyond, with opportunities to travel to develop these collaborations. We anticipate that you will learn in a hands on way about the techniques other areas of the project will be applying, while at sea. You will be expected to present your findings at international workshops and conferences, and publish your discoveries in scientific journals.

This PhD position will report to Dr Ruth Thurstan and Professor Callum Roberts and will be responsible for reconstructing past marine functioning and biodiversity in key sites across the coasts of the UK and wider regions, using a wide variety of historical documentary and material sources. Ideally, you will have demonstrated skills or a good level of awareness of the historical ecology literature, historical source interrogation and a strong interest in quantitative data analysis, data-poor and mixed methods approaches (quantitative and qualitative) to ecology and biodiversity datasets.

Funding Notes

The University of Exeter’s College of Life and Environmental Sciences is inviting applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship to commence in January 2022 or as soon as possible thereafter. For eligible students the studentship will cover Home or International tuition fees plus an annual tax-free stipend of at least £15,285 for 4 years full-time, or pro rata for part-time study. The student would be based in Biosciences in the College of Life and Environmental Sciences at the Penryn Campus in Cornwall.

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