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Lowering reuse costs by reducing fouling on immersed structures - National Decommissioning Centre

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  • Full or part time
    Prof M Jaspars
    Prof F Kuepper
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Fouling on marine immersed structures is a multi-billion pound issue for the offshore industry, requiring mechanical removal of foulants. Since the banning of tin-based antifoulants there are few effective strategies to prevent fouling by marine invertebrates and algae. An improved understanding of the stages of biofouling in temperate and tropical waters is essential to find ecologically friendly and sustainable remedies. In this proposal we will use chemical ecology methods to understand the process of fouling using key species. We will use ecological cues, such as marine invertebrates and algae which lack fouling, to select species to discover natural antifoulants. The key aim is to discover new antifoulants and the objectives are:
1.) Survey offshore structures for key fouling organisms.
2.) Select model organisms from these for the antifouling tests.
3.) Collect marine invertebrates and algae which are not fouled and extract these using organic solvents.
4.) Use an activity guided iterative purification/testing process using the model organisms in (2) and the extract from (3) to isolate the antifouling agents.
5.) To structurally characterise the antifoulants using spectroscopic methods and determine their antifouling characteristics.
6.) To work with industry to begin the process of incorporating these antifoulants into coatings and test these in real-world situations.

The Student: they will obtain high-level interdisciplinary training in marine biology, marine chemistry and biotechnology with an environmental and ecological focus to solve a complex problem in an integrated way. They will gain skills in environmental species surveys (possibly scientific diving), marine natural product chemistry and antifouling assays, making them ready to work in a range of different industries.

The successful student will benefit from being part of a new and exciting decommissioning research centre working in Newburgh, Aberdeenshire, along with other PhD students, industry and academics among others. NDC includes state-of-the-art engineering laboratories and hangar space for the design and development of decommissioning technology, as well as a suite of environmental commercial testing facilities. At the heart of the Centre is the Decommissioning Immersive Collaborative Environment (DICE), a high-tech digital visualisation suite.

This studentship forms part of the National Decommissioning Centre, Centre for Doctoral Training. All of the NDC CDT projects will have substantive industry/regulator/NGO links/support. This support is currently being discussed with appropriate companies and organisations.

The successful candidate should have, or expect to obtain a UK Honours Degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in chemistry, biochemistry, marine biology, microbiology.

Essential background and Knowledge: Some knowledge of organic chemistry and microbiology.


• Apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Decommissioning
• State name of the lead supervisor as the Name of Proposed Supervisor
• State ‘National Decommissioning Centre) as Intended Source of Funding
• State the exact project title on the application form

Informal inquiries can be made to Prof M Jaspars ([Email Address Removed]) with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Postgraduate Research School ([Email Address Removed])

If a suitable candidate is identified, the studentship may be awarded before the closing date.

The start date of the project is 1 April (ideally, or as arranged with supervisor)

Funding Notes

Home Tuition Fees and stipend at Research Council rates for 3.5 years.

International candidates can apply if they can meet the difference between UK/EU and International Tuition fees from their own resources.


“Pseudochelin A, a siderophore of Pseudoalteromonas piscicida S2040” Eva C. Sonnenschein, Marc Stierhof, Stephan Goralczyk, Floriane M. Vabre, Leonie Pellissier, Kine Ostnes Hanssen, Mercedes de la Cruz, Caridad Diaz, Peter de Witte, Danielle Copmans, Jeanette Hammer Andersen, Espen Hansen, Venke Kristoffersen, Jose R. Tormo, Rainer Ebel, Bruce F Milne, Hai Deng, Lone Gram, Marcel Jaspars, Jioji N. Tabudravu, Tetrahedron, 2017, 73, 2633

“Antimicrobial Activity of Monoramnholipids Produced by Bacterial Strains Isolated from the Ross Sea (Antarctica)”, Pietro Tedesco, Isabel Maida, Fortunato Palma Esposito, Emiliana Tortorella, Karolina Subko, Chidinma Christiana Ezeofor, Ying Zhang, Jioji Tabudravu, Marcel Jaspars, Renato Fani and Donatella de Pascale, Marine Drugs, 2016, 14, 83

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