Developing biomarkers of sewage effluent exposure in freshwater amphipods (Gammarus)

   Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS)

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  Prof Alex Ford  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Governments, regulatory authorities and water companies are undergoing increasing pressure to improve, assess and monitor the water quality of rivers exposed to sewage effluent and its constituent compounds. Despite considerable advances in the biological markers used to test health of wild and laboratory exposed fish, development in the area of invertebrate biomarkers, especially molecular, have been lacking. This project aims to develop as series of reproductive, neurological and general stress biomarkers in the ubiquitous European amphipods Gammarus pulex and Gammarus fossarum following exposure to sewage effluent. It will initially be conducted by sequencing the transcriptome for Gammarus using next generation sequencing technologies and identifying differentially expressed genes above and below sewage treatment plants in Switzerland.

The project would be supervised by Prof Alex Ford from the Institute of Marine Sciences ( and Dr Inge Werner from the Centre for Applied Ecotoxicology (Ecotox Centre), Eawag-EPFL, Switzerland (

This international collaboration is looking for an enthusiastic student with strong skills in molecular biology and a desire to learn bioinformatics in this ambitious 3 year funded studentship (£14,296pa). The project will primarily be based in the UK with research meetings and potentially some field sampling conducted in Switzerland. The successful applicant will have access to the Graduate School Development Programme and Department Postgraduate Researcher Training. You will join the vibrant Ecotoxicology and Environmental Monitoring group, which currently consists of 9 academics, 4 PDRAs, 6 PhD students and 2 MRes students.

Research Group Web Site
Ecotoxicology and Environmental Monitoring group:

Prof Alex Ford (School of Biological Sciences, University of Portsmouth)
Dr Inge Werner (Ecotox Centre Eawag-EPFL, Switzerland)
For informal enquires please contact Prof Alex Ford ([Email Address Removed]) +44 02392 845805

Application Deadline and Expected Start Date
The deadline for applications is the 4 November with a view to holding interviews shortly after in late November. The expected start date for this PhD is the 1st February 2017.

Funding Notes

Funding Status:
Fully funded and stipend of £14,296 per annum. Open to UK & EU students.