PhD opputunity in the University of East Anglia

The calcium carbonate cycle in the Southern Ocean

The problem: The world oceans take up about 25 % of the carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by human activity. This uptake is changing the carbonate chemistry of the oceans, a process known as ‘ocean acidification’ (1). Some marine plankton (coccolithophorids, foraminifera, pteropods) build calcium carbonate shells, while bony fish excrete high magnesium calcites (2). A chemical carbonate precipitate, ikaite, has recently been observed in sea ice (3). Carbonate precipitates sink out, while taking organic material with them. The reverse process of precipitation, carbonate dissolution was thought to occur primarily in the deep ocean, but recent work indicates that considerable dissolution may occur in the upper 1000 m (4). Continuing ocean acidification is expected to reduce carbonate precipitation with the most severe effects in the high latitude oceans (5). Additionally, the importance of carbonate precipitation in the Southern Ocean is poorly understood. The research: Recent awareness of the potential effects of ocean acidification on marine calcifying organisms highlights the need for an assessment of carbonate precipitation in Antarctic waters. This PhD studentship has the aim to characterize the calcium carbonate cycle in the Southern Ocean. Vertical cross-sections of inorganic carbon parameters have been made on recent cruises. The student may use data analysis, laboratory experiments and/or modelling in his/her research on calcium carbonate processes, depending on his/her scientific interests. Requirements, training, opportunities: We seek an enthusiastic team player with strong scientific interests and self-motivation. The PhD student will participate in at least one oceanographic cruise or experiment and will greatly benefit from (inter-)national collaboration in ocean acidification research, ANDREX and Oceans2025. The candidate will acquire transferable skills, e.g. project planning, data analysis, effective collaboration, scientific writing, and oral communication, while carrying out research of global significance. Our website is at

Dept/School: School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia
Project Supervisor: Dr D Bakker
Funding Availability: Competition Funded Project (European/UK Students Only)
Application Deadline: 12 March 2010

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