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Sustainable nutrient and metal removal from domestic and industrial wastewaters using Lagarosiphon major and other submerged macrophytes under temperate conditions.

Natural Sciences

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Prof N F Gray No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Applications are sought from suitably qualified candidates (plant science, experimental biology, environmental science) to undertake doctoral research under the PRTLI-funded structured PhD programme. This 4 year structured PhD programme will be conducted in close cooperation with UCD The programme will include training modules in generic and discipline related skills. The specific project is based in the Centre for the Environment/Botany at Trinity College Dublin.

The key question to be answered by this project is can submerged aquatic macrophytes be used under temperate conditions to provide a low-carbon sustainable treatment solution for a range of conventional and problematic wastewaters? Native and invasive species will be screened using laboratory scale growth chambers to identify suitable species/varieties for use in the treatment of high nutrient and other specialist wastewater streams. Selected species/varieties will be characterized in terms of growth rate, toxicity tolerance, genetic variability (where appropriate), cellular constituents (i.e. protein, lipids, carbohydrates, vitamins and trace elements) using a range of different secondary (industrial) and tertiary (domestic/industrial) wastewaters.

Five species/varieties will be selected for laboratory pond trials including Elodea canadensis which has been used previously and also L. major which has the highest growth rate of this plant group. This will identify key batch and continuous culture requirements including HRT, temperature, light intensity and periodicity, reactor dimensions including euphotic depth, harvesting (biomass) rates, also treatment efficiency in terms of nutrient (N, P) and metal removal. The ability to scavenge pharmaceuticals and other trace organics will also be explored. Subsequently outdoor and indoor (controlled) treatment trials will be used to create a carbon-neutral submerged macrophyte reactor design employing passive heat and lighting for all year temperate operation.

Further details at:

The studentships include EU fees and an annual stipend of €16,000 and they will commence from September 2011. Further details of the proposed project and application procedure can be found at

NB. Application deadline is 13 May 2011 and all applications must be made through:

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