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Microalgae, biofilms and microplastics: An interdisciplinary approach to understanding the resuspension and transport of microplastics and the effects on ecosystem functions.

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Julie Hope
    Prof SF Thrush
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted

Project Description

The Institute of Marine Science (IMS) and the School of Environment at the University of Auckland are looking for an excellent and highly motivated scientist with keen interests in the fundamental processes that may affect the distribution and fate of microplastics and their effect on various soft sediment ecosystem functions.
We are offering a fully funded interdisciplinary PhD project to investigate the interactions between microphytobenthos (MPB), microplastics in soft sediments and biological and physical processes at the sediment-water interface.
This research is interdisciplinary therefore experience in experimental research (field and laboratory) in the areas of environmental engineering and/or benthic ecology would be highly desirable, as well as a motivated mindset.
A mixture of field surveys and manipulative experiments, flume experiments and the development of a machine-learning model may be used to couple various biological and physical processes to microplastic distribution and benthic ecosystem functioning.
The candidate is expected to develop their own research goals with the help of the PI Dr Julie Anne Hope (IMS). The candidate will also benefit from the additional support of Assoc. Prof Giovanni Coco (CO-I, School of Environment) and Prof. Simon Thrush (CO-I, IMS) during different phases of the project. Work may be based between the city campus and/or the Leigh Marine Laboratory on the North Island of New Zealand.
To apply for this position, potential candidates should send a cover letter, an outline of their own research proposal for this project (1 page max) and an up to date CV to Jaime Rowntree, [Email Address Removed].
Background information on the Institute of Marine Science and life at The University of Auckland can be found at:,,

Funding Notes

A completed masters degree is required for candidates to apply. The funding is through the Royal Society of NZ as part of a Marsden fast start grant awarded to the PI

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