CDTS301: Sustainable restoration of the European Oyster in the face of environmental change

   School of Natural Sciences

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  Dr Svenja Tidau, Prof Lynda Rodwell, Dr Karen Robinson, Prof Stuart Jenkins  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Marine biogenic reefs are ecologically important habitats and provide society with key ecosystem services (ESs). Yet, they are among the most degraded habitats. The 21st century has seen a global surge in large-scale restoration with the native oyster Ostrea edulis being at the forefront. Predicting climate adaptation and building resilience are critical for sustainable restoration.

Current restoration lacks conclusive evidence on how Ostrea will cope with climate change in delivering ESs and biodiversity gains, particularly relative to the warm water tolerant and already widespread non-native Pacific oyster Magallana gigas (introduced for aquaculture). Somewhat surprisingly, Ostrea appears to cope physiologically better with warmer temperatures than Magallana. However, little is known about the relative performance of populations over critical life-stages and reproduction.

We will test two approaches for building more resilient Ostrea restoration. First, we will examine the benefits of mitigating additional stressors known to adversely affect organismal health, namely artificial light at night (ALAN). Second, we will assess the perceptions of key stakeholder and the public to contribute towards Ostrea restoration.

This transdisciplinary project is co-designed between Bangor University, the University of Plymouth, and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and will address one of NRW’s evidence priorities “Understanding impacts of climate change on vulnerable species and habitats”.

Aims and objectives

The aim of this PhD is to assess the current socio-ecological climate resilience of Ostrea restoration and explore the feasibility of two approaches to build resilience. The project will:

  1. quantify relative performance of Ostrea and Magallana adults and larvae under increased temperature and ALAN;
  2. identify stakeholder and broader public perception, knowledge, and willingness to contribute towards Ostrea restoration (such as through Restorative Aquaculture).

The project will suit a student interested in developing skills in both ecological and socio-economic research.


A bespoke training will equip the student with skills, knowledge, and experiences to become an independent, creative, and competitive researcher for multiple roles in and outside academia. The student will be trained to design, execute, and analyse biological experiments and socio-economic studies. The experiments provide the opportunity to learn how and when to use biological and socio-economic approaches. The student will gain theoretical and practical insight into the management of marine resources, actively engage with stakeholders.

Project Structure

The student will be jointly based at Bangor University and NRW and also undertake visits to the University of Plymouth throughout the project. The student will conduct the biological experiments at Bangor University while starting to engagement with stakeholders. Informed by the findings, the student will carry out surveys, face-to-face interviews, and focus group consultation. Finally, the student will synthesize the findings identifying key points of intervention to improve the sustainability of the Ostrea restoration and aquaculture system.

Supervisory team

The project will be supervised by Dr Svenja Tidau and Prof Stuart Jenkins (Bangor University), Prof Lynda Rodwell (University of Plymouth), Dr Karen Robinson, Dr Ben Wray and Dr Rowland Sharp from Natural Resources Wales and Dr Thomas Galley and Dr Nick Jones (Bangor University).


Applicants should have a first or upper second-class honours degree in an appropriate subject and either a relevant masters qualification or a wider range of experience in a relevant career path (which is equally as important).

Each applicant may apply for a studentship on up to three CDT SuMMeR projects. Where more than one project is applied for, the supervisors of all those projects will be made aware that other applications have been made.

The studentship is supported for 3 years and 8 months. All UKRI-funded PhD students (UK, EU, International) will be eligible for the full award – both the stipend to support living costs (£18,622 per academic year at full time equivalent at the 2023/24 rate), and fees at the research organisation’s UK rate. International students are eligible for UKRI-funded postgraduate studentships but UKRI will limit the proportion of international students appointed each year through individual doctoral training programmes to 30% of the intake per cohort. CDT SuMMeR’s funding will not cover international fees set by universities; applicants normally required to pay international fees may have to cover the difference between the home and the international tuition fee rates (approximately £12,697 per annum). Please enquire with the lead supervisor on the situation regarding international fees for the project you are interested in. CDT SuMMeR’s funding will not cover costs associated with visa application or health surcharges, or additional costs associated with entry to, and living in, the UK. For EU and international eligibility for UKRI studentships, see UKRI’s guidance.

In case of uncertainty, applicants should contact the hosting institute for eligibility advice, or the CDT SuMMeR Programme Office: [Email Address Removed]

Biological Sciences (4) Environmental Sciences (13) Geography (17)


CDT SuMMeR studentships are partially funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), which applies the eligibility criteria laid down by its parent body, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and co-funded by the respective Hosting Partner institutes. UKRI provides details on its training grants in its Terms and Conditions for Training Funding document, including its Training Grant Guide, which can be found on the UKRI website.

 About the Project