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How will climate-induced changes in water level affect lake temperature and oxygen dynamics around the world?


School of Biological & Environmental Sciences

About the Project

This project will investigate how changes in water level will affect temperature and oxygen dynamics in lakes across the globe, using a combined monitoring and numerical modelling approach.
Our current understanding of climate change impacts on lakes is largely based on how atmospheric warming will lead to increased water temperatures and thermal stratification, and the consequences these changes will impose on the chemistry and biology of standing waters. Future changes in evapotranspiration and precipitation, however, are predicted to be much larger than those in air temperature and be more variable across the globe. As a result, lake water levels will change substantially across the world, exacerbated by changing water extraction practices. These changing water levels will have consequences for lake temperature and the variation in temperature with depth – stratification – that, in turn, will alter oxygen dynamics in lakes and the likelihood of deep-water anoxia developing. As temperature and oxygen are of fundamental importance to the lake ecosystem, long-term changes in water level will affect water quality and ecosystems in lakes around the world. These impacts need to be understood in order to ascertain which lakes and regions are most at risk of a deterioration in water quality so that appropriate remediation measures can be employed.
The PhD will combine fieldwork and high resolution automated monitoring in two study sites, Airthrey Loch on the beautiful University of Stirling campus and Elterwater, a small lake in the English Lake District. This will be combined with numerical modelling to study the effects of lake shape and climatic region on the effects of water level change on temperature and oxygen dynamics. There will also be opportunity to explore the use of data from satellites for examining recent global changes in lake water level. As such, the project offers an exceptional training and development opportunity in a full range of techniques used in modern lake science. The studentship will be based at the University of Stirling, and the student will additionally benefit from a placement at the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (Lancaster), one of the largest groups of lake scientists in the UK.

Funding Notes

UKRI eligibility rules enable a small proportion of IAPETUS PhD studentships to be awarded to non-UK applicants from overseas; applicants from overseas should contact the lead supervisor to discuss this.

References

The application deadline is Friday 8th January 2021 at 5pm. By this time applicants must have completed two application steps: an application through the Stirling University online admissions system and an application through the IAPETUS DTP application system. Online Stirling University applications should be submitted here: https://www.stir.ac.uk/research/research-degrees/how-to-apply-for-our-research-degrees/. The online IAPETUS application form and further details are here: https://www.iapetus2.ac.uk/how-to-apply/. However, serious applicants should contact the lead supervisor by email (ian.jones@stir.ac.uk) well before the deadline to discuss their application.

Initial shortlisting will take place immediately after the 8th January deadline. Those candidates who are successful in shortlisting will be required to attend an online IAPETUS interview on Tuesday 16th February 2021.

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