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Shipwreck sites in Welsh waters as a proxy for ecosystem changes at renewable energy infrastructure sites

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  • Full or part time
    Dr K Van Landeghem
    Dr M Saher
    Dr M Austin
    Dr R Roche
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Artificial seabed objects impact the way the ecosystem functions, in turn directly impacting humans. A tool to predict these impacts would greatly assist in the environmental impact assessment for any seabed structure emplacement. Tighter coupling between sediment dynamics and benthic processes is needed to build such tool, and will be addressed via this PhD project.


Evaluating and predicting environmental impacts of artificial seabed structures.
We will use shipwrecks as study objects as they are ubiquitous (representing different environments), well-documented (reducing the project risk), emplaced multiple decades ago (representing the life-span of typical seabed engineering projects) and part of The Crown Estate’s strategy to improve knowledge of our underwater cultural heritage.

What will you do

1: Quantify the causal relationships between physical properties and ecological functions in the ecosystem around artificial seafloor objects.
- Acquiring skills in marine geological, hydrodynamic, biological and biogeochemical sciences and in multivariate analysis of community data.
2: Validate a calibrated ecosystem model to better predict the long-term influence of the seafloor object on the surrounding site.
- Acquiring skills in ecosystem modelling and its programming language (FORTRAN).
3: Involve seabed infrastructure developers to ensure that extracting renewable tidal energy is designed with the knowledge of an environmental impact assessment, maximising positive effects and minimising adverse impacts.
- Acquiring skills in hosting a workshop and collaborating with offshore engineers and environmental/heritage managers.
4: Help protect Wales’ underwater cultural heritage and educating people about their maritime heritage and its environmental impacts.

What will you receive?

You will receive support and training from experts in marine sciences and extra research funding and support from industry sponsor CGG Robertson. The School of Ocean Sciences at BU is internationally renowned for coastal and shelf sea studies, supported by its state-of-the art marine infrastructure, including the 35m long Research Vessel Prince Madog and a fleet of smaller boats. You will receive specialist training in high resolution coupled ecosystem-hydrodynamic models. You will thus study truly integrated marine science and contribute towards a sustainable future of our coastal and marine environments.

For further details and to apply please contact Dr Katrien Van Landeghem in the School of Ocean Sciences, Bangor University [Email Address Removed]

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