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Biodiversity impacts of air pollution

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Thomas Cummins
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

A PhD position is offered in the EPA-funded project NEC Indicators for Air Pollution Effects on Terrestrial Ecosystems. The objectives of the work are to develop the use of vascular plants and epiphytic mosses and lichens as indicators of eutrophication, link plant species diversity to atmospheric deposition and soil-solution from past monitoring, and assess biodiversity impacts of critical load exceedance referring to N and S deposition. Datasets for deposition, soil solution, and foliar nutrients, across habitats with records of biodiversity, will be compiled, and proposed causal relationships established for spatial interpretation. Recent article 17 reporting under Habitats Directive by Ireland’s National Parks and Wildlife Service has identified several habitats and plant species that have responded negatively to elevated nitrogen deposition; the project will work with NPWS (project collaborators) to identify species as indicators of air pollution impacts. This study will investigate whether biological responses to documented exceedances of critical loads of acidifying substances, and of nutrient nitrogen, can be verified. The proposed research will develop national capacity on the assessment of impacts of nitrogen deposition on habitat biodiversity using the Habitat Suitability Index (HSI), in collaboration with the NPWS. Specifically, the proposed project will assess plant-species diversity across a nitrogen deposition gradient for key national habitats (as identified by the NPWS); the project will employ field-survey and statistical approaches to assess the appropriate floristic indicators (individual plants to abundance metrics, including HSI) and ultimately inform the selection of appropriate critical loads for nitrogen deposition.

Click on Visit Website below for details of requirements. Only applicants meeting the required criteria will be considered.
Applications and queries by email only please, to [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

A four-year scholarship consists of €18,000 annual stipend plus UCD fees at €7120 in the first year and incrementing by 4% annually (with any shortfall borne by the student). Completion beyond December 2023 is subject to a project extenstion approval by the funder, to be confirmed.


Details of two referees, who have been advised that you are using their contacts, are required. At least one of these should be from an academic institution where you have studied at degree level.

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