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What supports the productivity of the Kerguelen Island plume?

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  • Full or part time
    Dr A Tagliabue
    Prof R Williams
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

This is an extract of the research project. Simply click on “Apply on-line” above for an instant access to the complete version.

The supervisory team uses data synthesis and modelling experiments to explore hypotheses regarding ocean biogeochemistry and the maintenance of biological activity.

The overall aim of the studentship will be to

Conduct modelling experiments with a state of the art high resolution physical-biogeochemical model to assess the potential influences of different iron sources/cycling and different physical processes in regulating surface biological activity

For example, it is of interest to assess i) whether dominant control by one particular source of iron can be established, ii) to appraise the relative importance of iron recycling against physical inputs and iii) to quantify which aspects of the fine physical and topographic scales are important – such as topographic steering or also transport and stirring at fine scales? To achieve these aims, the student will need to conduct experiments and analyze output from a state of the art 3D high resolution ocean biogeochemical model and make use of the extensive field datasets that are available for this well studied region or examine remotely sensed sea surface temperature and chlorophyll datasets. There will be sufficient flexibility in the studentship for the precise aims and objectives to be modified via the particular interests of the successful candidate.

The successful candidate is expected to spend time visiting and working with collaborator Dr Marina Lévy in Paris. In Liverpool, the student will participate in the NERC funded Doctoral Training Programme (DTP), supported by the Universities of Manchester and Liverpool alongside the National Oceanography Centre. Finally, the candidate will also be required to attend national and international conferences/workshops.

This project would be ideal for a student interested in ocean biogeochemistry and the coupling of ocean physics and biology. Ideally, the candidate will have a background in a physical, chemical or biological science and have strong numeracy skills. No previous experience in laboratory, fieldwork or modelling is required, as training will be given in the first year of the PhD.


Arrigo, K. R., G. L. van Dijken, and S. Bushinsky (2008), Primary production in the Southern Ocean, 1997–2006, Journal of Geophysical Research, 113(C8). doi:10.1029/2007jc004551

Blain, S., et al. (2007), Effect of natural iron fertilization on carbon sequestration in the Southern Ocean, Nature, 446(7139), 1070-1074. doi:10.1038/nature05700

Bowie, A. R., et al. (2015), Iron budgets for three distinct biogeochemical sites around the Kerguelen Archipelago (Southern Ocean) during the natural fertilisation study, KEOPS-2, Biogeosciences, 12(14), 4421-4445. doi:10.5194/bg-12-4421-2015

Boyd, P. W., and M. J. Ellwood (2010), The biogeochemical cycle of iron in the ocean, Nature Geoscience, 3(10), 675-682. doi:10.1038/ngeo964

Boyd, P. W., K. R. Arrigo, R. Strzepek, and G. L. van Dijken (2012a), Mapping phytoplankton iron utilization: Insights into Southern Ocean supply mechanisms, Journal of Geophysical Research, 117(C6). doi:10.1029/2011jc007726

Boyd, P. W., et al. (2012b), Microbial control of diatom bloom dynamics in the open ocean, Geophysical Research Letters, 39(18). doi:10.1029/2012gl053448

Tagliabue, A., J.-B. Sallée, A. R. Bowie, M. Lévy, S. Swart, and P. W. Boyd (2014), Surface-water iron supplies in the Southern Ocean sustained by deep winter mixing, Nature Geoscience, 7(4), 314-320. doi:10.1038/ngeo2101

van der Merwe, P., et al. (2015), Sourcing the iron in the naturally fertilised bloom around the Kerguelen Plateau: particulate trace metal dynamics, Biogeosciences, 12(3), 739-755. doi:10.5194/bg-12-739-2015

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