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What Are The Controls on Aqueous N Export From Human-modified Tropical Peatlands? (OP2260)

   Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering

   Monday, January 24, 2022  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Newcastle United Kingdom Biochemistry Climate Science Ecology Environmental Engineering Geochemistry Geoscience Hydrology Marine Biology Pollution Soil Science

About the Project

Tropical peatlands play a critical role in the global cycles of C and N, floodwater regulation and the control of riverine chemistry. Human modification of these ecosystems (e.g. due to agricultural conversion, drainage, fertilisation) have altered how they function, and can increase peat oxidation, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and aqueous C fluxes. One major unknown is the effect of human modification on the N flux from tropical peatlands to receiving surface waters; this is significant because increases in aqueous N flux can contaminate drinking water, harm aquatic wildlife and stimulate riverine GHG emissions. While we know that application of N fertilisers to human-modified tropical peatlands can increase soil nitrate concentrations and emissions of N trace gases, it is unclear if this translates to enhanced flux of N to surface waters. This project aims to close this knowledge gap by quantifying aqueous N flux from human-modified tropical peatlands in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo, exploring how management practices (e.g. drainage, fertilisation) and natural drivers (e.g. rainfall) influence terrestrial-aquatic exchange of N and N trace gases (e.g. nitrous oxide). Findings from this research will be used to co-develop new management practices with industry to mitigate aquatic N pollution from these ecosystems. The PhD student will have the opportunity to work with a multidisciplinary team of scientists and industry stakeholders, and will gain expertise in biogeochemistry, hydrology, aquatic chemistry, flux measurement techniques and stakeholder engagement.

Funding Notes

This project is part of the NERC ONE Planet DTP. Each of our studentship awards include 3.5 years of fees (Home/EU), an annual living allowance (£15,650) and a Research Training Support Grant (for travel, consumables, etc).
Home and International applicants (inc. EU) are welcome to apply. Following the UKRI announcement regarding their new 30% UKRI international recruitment policy (to take effect from September 2021) both Newcastle University, and Northumbria University, have agreed to pay the international fee difference for all International applicants (inc. EU) who are awarded a DTP studentship. Interviews will take place in February 2022.
How to apply: View Website

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