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Harvesting the seashore: the impacts and management of inter-tidal fisheries


Project Description

Applications are invited for a fully-funded three year PhD to commence in October 2019.

The PhD will be based in the School of Biological Sciences, and will be supervised by Dr Gordon Watson, Dr Roger Herbert (Bournemouth University) and Dr Steve Mitchell.

The work on this project will look at:
-what is the historical and current extent of inter-tidal fisheries within the MPAs
-what impact do inter-tidal fisheries have on the bioavailability of sediment-bound pollutants
-how is ecosystem function affected by inter-tidal fisheries
-what are the population-level impacts of inter-tidal fisheries on wading birds


Project description

Harvesting the sea shore is an integral part of coastal life, but at local, national and global scales these inter-tidal fisheries are highly valuable, extract significant biomass and have considerable impacts. They, therefore, urgently require governance equivalent to other offshore fisheries. However, critical gaps in our understanding of these data-limited activities remain that currently prevent the implementation of evidence-based fisheries and resource management for coastal regions especially within Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

The Solent and Poole European Marine Sites (MPAs) on the south coast of the UK provide a unique opportunity to assess the extent and impacts of these fisheries as they support high levels of bait, clam, cockle and oyster collection operating at different spatial scales and utilising different methods. The project is designed to assess the extent of these fisheries and evaluate the impact of these collection methods on habitats, target and non-target species and the function that these deliver (i.e. ecosystem services). The project will provide evidence to support effective management strategies that will meet future UK and European conservation, economic and social priorities.


The successful candidate will have opportunities to acquire a diverse set of skills including macrofaunal sampling and identification, trace metal and sediment analysis, GIS mapping, aerial photography, assessments of functional traits and hydrodynamic modelling. You’ll also work closely with the relevant agencies including the Solent Forum, Natural England and The Southern Inshore Fisheries Conservation Agency and be part of the vibrant Ecotoxicology and Environmental Monitoring Group.

In addition, you’ll have access to the Graduate School Development Programme and Department Postgraduate Researcher Training. Expected career opportunities would be academic research as well as conservation and fisheries resource management for government agencies, NGOs and environmental consultancies in the UK and beyond.


Entry Requirements

General admissions criteria
You’ll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum second class or equivalent, depending on your chosen course) or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.


How to Apply
We’d encourage you to contact Dr Gordon Watson () to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, you can use our online application form and select ‘Biological Sciences’ as the subject area. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV. Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process.


If you want to be considered for this funded PhD opportunity you must quote project code BIOL4890219 when applying.

Funding Notes

Candidates applying for this project may be eligible to compete for a Portsmouth Global PhD scholarship.

Successful candidates will receive a scholarship to cover tuition fees at an international rate for three years, a stipend in line with that offered by Research Councils UK of £14,777 per annum (2018/2019 rate), and one return flight to London during the duration of the course.

How good is research at University of Portsmouth in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 25.73

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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