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Nutrient Resources in a Future Ocean

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  • Full or part time
    Dr S Reynolds,
    Dr F Ragazzola
    Dr M Hale
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

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 Earth and Environmental Sciences and will be supervised by Dr Sarah Reynolds, Dr Federica Ragazzola and Dr Michelle Hale.

The work on this project will:
-assess the impact of climate change on nutrient resources in both the coastal and open ocean environment
-simulate a multi-stressor environment (elevated temperature, OA, increase in nutrient inputs) of a temperate coastal setting in a future scenario
-assess the impacts on nutrient biogeochemistry in the oligotophic North Atlantic


Project description

Nutrients within the marine environment are involved in complex cycles, which maintain the
biological community and influence atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. Anthropogenic
induced climate change is having a major impact on the world’s oceans. The oceans are warming, sea levels are rising and waters are acidifying. Studies have shown these changes are having an impact on marine ecosystems, however, there has been little focus on the impact of climate change on the biogeochemical cycling of the nutrients, nitrogen and phosphorus.

Within the coastal and shelf sea environment, modern nutrient cycles are perturbed not only by
enhanced warming and ocean acidification but also by increased anthropogenic inputs from both
urban and agricultural run-off, as well as atmospheric nitrogen deposition. However, in the isolated open ocean, which is often characterised by very low concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorous, inputs of anthropogenic-derived nutrients are limited to the atmospheric deposition of nitrogen only.

Additionally, enhanced stratification from ocean warming would restrict the mixing of water
masses, thus further reducing the supply of nutrients to the surface ocean. This perturbation of the nutrient cycles could lead to further phosphorus limitation in the oligotrophic oceans. There is still much uncertainty into how these complex ecosystems will respond to such pressures and there has been little insight given to how the dynamics and cycling of how these vital nutrients will be impacted in the future.


The overall aim of this project is to assess the impact of climate change on nutrient resources in
both the coastal and open ocean environment. The student will be involved in laboratory
manipulations to simulate a multi-stressor environment (elevated temperature, OA, increase in
nutrient inputs) of a temperate coastal setting in a future scenario and assess the impacts on
nutrient biogeochemistry. Additionally, fieldwork in the Atlantic Ocean will explore further
phosphorus limitation in an oligotrophic ocean and investigate the effects on nutrient resources.
The successful candidate will gain extensive experience in the running of chemo-stats/bioassays
and training in analytical techniques, with the opportunity for ship-board fieldwork. There will be access and opportunities in University of Portsmouth’s Graduate School Development Programme.


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 a relevant subject area. 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.

Specific candidate requirements
We’d welcome applications from marine science graduates with a chemistry focus.


How to Apply
We’d encourage you to contact Dr Sarah Reynolds ([Email Address Removed]) 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 ‘Geography, Earth and Environmental 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 SEES4840219 when applying.

Funding Notes

The bursary is available to UK and EU students only and covers tuition fees and an annual maintenance grant in line with the RCUK rate (£14,777 for 2018/19) for three years.



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