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  PhD Project: Carbon Dioxide Efflux & Climate Feedback Mechanisms in Irish Blanket Peatland Ecosystems

   Graduate Research School Office

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  Dr Alan Gilmer  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Peatlands cover approximately 11,757 Km2 of Ireland and represent a major carbon store – of this nearly half 4,350 km2 is represented by upland blanket peatlands. Accelerated carbon losses from this land type will have serious consequences for the natural carbon store and its associated impacts on climate change in Ireland. Recent studies have shown an increase in carbon leaking from peat soils and forested stream systems in the uplands. This coupled with high variability and poorly quantified gaseous carbon fluxes from blanket peatland dominated catchments suggests that the true losses of carbon from this ecosystem (soil) type could be considerably greater than previously estimated. The atmospheric diffusion of carbon and carbon cycle disturbances associated with water-land management practices are of particular importance. Optimal carbon management of this resource requires a more detailed assessment of carbon dynamics in this extensive land type. This project will require regular field monitoring of a designated blanket peatland site including routine equipment maintenance, sample collection, laboratory analysis and peat characterisation. The output of this study will be a vegetation based spatio-temporal mechanistic simulation of carbon production, transport and evasion in Irish upland blanket peatlands.

Research Objectives

1. Define and assess the standard biochemical pathways of CO2 production and diffusion and the associated precursor species in the blanket peatland ecosystem.

2. Quantify and map the spatial / temporal variability of CO2 diffusion from the surface of the blanket peatland within the study site.

3. Determine the spatial character of the blanket peatland phytosociological profile and its relationship to CO2 transport, diffusion and efflux;

4. Identify the environmental and biophysical controls (biotic and abiotic) of atmospheric gaseous carbon diffusion from the peatland soil-water interface including the spatio-temporal character of these parameters under different seasonal conditions.

Student requirements for this project

Essential: Min 2.1 (upper second class honours) in Environmental Science, Ecology, Botany, Chemistry, Microbiology, Biological Science, Geology, Geographical Science, Atmospheric Science or equivalent.

Desirable: Masters in Environmental Science / Sustainability / GIS / Land-use Management.

If you are interested in submitting an application for this project, please complete an Expression of Interest ( and email it to [Email Address Removed].

If you cannot open the link, please copy and paste the link into a different browser tab. Applications submitted without EOI form will not be considered

Engineering (12) Environmental Sciences (13)

Funding Notes

Student Stipend € 18,500 p.a.
Materials/ Travel etc. € 2,600 p.a.
Fees € 4,500 p.a.