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Source to sink: long-term catchment dynamics and carbon sequestration in the coastal ocean

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

Project Description

In collaboration with the Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society we invite applications for the following project from which the two strongest candidates will be selected for interview.

Supervisors: Dr Althea Davies (University of St Andrews), Dr Dmitri Mauquoy (University of Aberdeen), Prof William Austin (University of St Andrews), Dr John Howe (Scottish Association for Marine Science)

Outline: Recent evidence highlights the importance of the coastal ocean as a reservoir for ‘blue carbon’, notably carbon lost from terrestrial sources (Smeaton et al. 2016). In contrast with progress made in understanding land-use and climate impacts on terrestrial carbon, trends and drivers of carbon dynamics at the land-sea interface remain poorly understood. A clearer understanding of these dynamics and the potential for coastal sequestration to offset terrestrial carbon losses is needed to formulate integrated catchment management policy and strategy. The aim of this project is to develop a catchment-scale understanding of the long-term relationship between terrestrial and coastal marine carbon accumulation rates, including responses to climate, land-use and vegetation cover change. The research will be conducted in three land-fjord catchments on the Atlantic coast of Scotland, focusing on the last millennium. The research objectives are to: (1) characterise recent coastal catchment histories using land cover data and sedimentary records as a baseline for interpreting longer-term variability; (2) examine isotopic signatures in sea loch sediment cores to understand carbon provenance; (3) develop improved chronologies for coastal carbon deposition; (4) characterise carbon accumulation and land-use/cover shifts in terrestrial sediment cores using palaeoecological techniques for comparison with coastal carbon dynamics; and (5) develop Bayesian models of climate/land cover/carbon interactions over time in terrestrial-coastal sedimentary systems. Research training in field sampling, sediment analysis, palaeoecological proxies and modelling will be integral to the project.

Application enquiries: For informal enquiries, please contact Dr Althea Davies ([email protected]) or visit http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/gsd/opportunities/pg/

Application process: Please send of a CV (including details of 2 referees) and a covering letter outlining your interest in the project and relevant skill-sets to Mrs Helen Olaez ([email protected]) by 10 February 2017.

Interviews for candidates will be held in Edinburgh from 21-24 February

Funding Notes

UK/EU students are eligible to apply for full funding. Successful candidates will receive an annual stipend in line with RC-UK rates, and payment of their (UK/EU) tuition fees.


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