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NERC CDT In Oil & Gas PhD studentship: Understanding hydrocarbon impacts on vegetation and detection with remote sensing

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  • Full or part time
    Dr M Cutler
    Dr G Bengough
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

Project Description

A Funded 4-year PhD Studentship is available at the University of Dundee within the Schools of Social Sciences and Science and Engineering. Expected start date 1 October 2016.

Hydrocarbon leakage or spills in soils can cause major environmental degradation, with vegetation rapidly showing signs of stress. Plants show altered growth rate and morphology, decreased water and nutrient uptake, and this reflects belowground interactions between the contaminant and the plant root systems. Species responses will reflect both plant tolerance to toxicity, and the degree of contact between the root system and hydrocarbon plume, reflecting the depth and lateral spread of the root systems.

This project aims to further develop the use of remote sensing techniques for detecting hydrocarbon contamination. Specifically this will examine the use of hyperspectral and fluorescence imaging in relation to vegetation productivity, the morphological and physiological responses of vegetation exposed to hydrocarbon contamination in the groundwater, and the detection of water stress versus chlorophyll fluorescence as an indicator of contamination.

Making use of the extensive laboratory facilities at the University of Dundee and at the James Hutton Institute, the research will help identification of accidental contamination from oil/gas installations using remote sensing, and potentially also to detection of natural hydrocarbon seepage from undiscovered reserves.

The successful candidate will have a background in Geography, Remote Sensing, Plant Sciences or other Earth Sciences Background. Candidates must have a minimum 2.1 degree or higher, and hold UK citizenship. If you have a 2.2 degree, but have also obtained a masters qualification or have equivalent evidence of prior professional practice or learning, you are also eligible. Because of NERC restrictions, the full studentships will be available only to UK residents. For complete information on students eligibility, please consult the following websites:
(point 44)
(Chapter B11, page 16)

Detail specifically what we are requiring:-
The following guidance relating to evaluation criteria is provided for information to candidates applying for the above studentships. In general, the evaluators in assessing the applications will be looking for evidence closely matching the majority of the following attributes:
1. Clarity and focus of applicant’s statement of purpose and potential for higher degree studies.
2. Examples of research experience where applicable including undergraduate/MSc projects and any relevant research publications or presentations.
3. Degree of interest expressed by faculty / potential supervisors in working with the applicant as graduate student.
4. Writing / communication skills.
5. Status and quality of the applicant’s references.

Forward CV and letter of application for consideration to:
Dr Mark Cutler
Head of Geography
School of Social Sciences
University of Dundee
Dundee, DD1 4HD Email: [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

This project is funded by NERC and is for 48 months and is open to UK residents only.
Candidates must have a minimum 2.1 degree or higher, or a 2.2 degree, but have also obtained a relevant masters qualification or have equivalent evidence of prior professional practice or learning.
The successful applicant will receive a stipend and full tuition fees will be covered. Additional funding will be available for travel and training. Further information on eligibility can be found at:
(point 44)
(Chapter B11, page 16)

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