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The marine phosphorus cycle and the methane paradox

Project Description

Project details:

Marine microorganisms play major roles in regulating climate and driving global biogeochemical cycling. It has long been recognised that phosphorus (P) availability plays a major role in these processes by controlling marine primary productivity. We have previously demonstrated the importance of microbially-mediated dissolved organic phosphorus (DOP) mineralisation, and in particular organophosphonate (compounds characterised by a carbon-phosphorus bond) metabolism, to P and nitrogen cycling within marine systems [e.g. Chin et al. (2018) ISME J. 12(4),973)]. Research has also indicated that microbial organophosphonate metabolism plays a key role in the marine carbon cycle, with organophosphonate turnover providing a mechanism for aerobic methane production within the ocean (McGrath et al,(2013) Nature Reviews Microbiology11,412). The world’s oceans are an important source of methane: 1–4% of annual global methane emissions are of marine origin, however, oceanic methane production is poorly understood. This project will further investigate the role played by the organophosphonate-DOP pool in marine carbon cycling -and methane generation -through an investigation of the enzymes involved in organophosphonate mineralisation, and their regulation. In so doing this project will provide training in a range of (bio)chemical and molecular techniques (e.g. GC/MS, NMR, qRT-PCR, proteomics, transciptomics, marine microbiology and analytical biochemistry).

This project will be supervised by Professor John McGrath and Dr Jason Chin of Queen’s University School of Biological Sciences.

All applications MUST be submitted through

All applicants must meet the academic entry requirements:

Funding Notes

Only UK and EU students are eligible to apply. Before applying, it is strongly recommended that you read the full information on eligibility criteria available from DfE: View Website.

Please note in particular that not all successful applicants may be eligible to receive a full studentship (i.e. fees and stipend) - please read in detail the Residency and Citizenship requirements in the document linked to above.

How good is research at Queen’s University Belfast in Public Health, Health Services and Primary Care?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 29.60

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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