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  The consequences of change in coastal environments to the sustainability of commercial fisheries.

   College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences

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  Dr D Bailey  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

This project is funded by the Scottish Government’s ClimateXChange Centre of Expertise and will begin October 2012
Supervisors: University of Glasgow: David Bailey; JHI/SAMS: Tavis Potts, University of Strathclyde: Mike Heath.

Commercially important fisheries for invertebrates such as Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus) and scallops (Pecten maximus) take place in coastal waters, and coastal environments are also important nursery habitat for fish that are caught offshore. Notable species populations are known to use coastal habitats include west coast stocks of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) and whiting (Merlangius merlangus).
Climate change in coastal environments has the potential to affect both of these categories of fishery. Direct impacts are likely through changes in habitat due to altered rainfall and storminess, indirect impacts may occur through the displacement of fishing effort away from offshore whitefish and towards coastal environments if changes in water temperature alter whitefish distribution. This latter driver is likely to be exacerbated by future increases in the cost of fuel and will have serious implications for the management of effort in coastal fisheries
The proposed project will investigate the current role of coastal habitats for commercially important species through existing data and new surveys (research vessel and SCUBA). Lessons from overseas fisheries will be used where appropriate where the state of knowledge is better developed. Population modelling will be used to determine how important coastal environments are and to what extent the carrying capacity of nursery habitats affects the size of offshore stocks. The project will explore the socio-economic and political consequences of both potential impacts and the measures required to mitigate them. For instance, while closing inshore areas might enhance recruitment to the offshore Atlantic cod stock it could have a direct impact on coastal fisheries. Balancing the effects of such policies is complex as coastal communities might be highly dependent on small fishing operations, while the benefits of fishing offshore might be more widely dispersed. There are many such issues to explore and these require a multi-disciplinary approach using biological, modelling and socio-economic expertise.
As well as the proposed supervisors the student will be engaged with the wider ClimateXChange and MASTS communities and have access to a wide range of experts from across Scotland.

Funding Notes

The annual stipend for this project will be £13,560 (+ full fees) for 3 years.

Applicants should have received a grade of 2:1 (B) or equivalent in their undergraduate degree in a relevant biological or environmental topic. The studentship is open to UK and EU students. Diving qualifications to PADI DM, HSE SCUBA or BSAC Adv Diver would be an advantage, as would a driving licence. For more details on eligibility and for applicants see below:


Cover letter indicating motives and qualifications for undertaking this PhD plus full CV and contact details of 2 referees. Initial enquiries to, applications to

Interviews on 16th April 2012