NERC funded PhD research studentship opportunity

University of Plymouth
Faculty of Science and Technology

PhD Opportunity: Assessing the effects of long-term ocean acidification at volcanic CO2 vents, supervised by Dr Jason Hall-Spencer, Professor Martin Attrill and Professor Colin Brownlee (Plymouth Marine Science Partnership, UK), Dr Sophie Martin (CNRS Roscoff, France) and Dr Jelle Bijma (Alfred Wegener Institute, Germany).
The student will study the long-term effects of elevated CO2 levels on the function of adapted benthic communities and the commercial species they support and is being carried out alongside the EU FP7 EPOCA project, the German BIOACID project and the NERC Ocean Acidification projects to better understand the ecological effects of ocean acidification.

The studentship will involve training in Scanning Electron Microscopy to examine the mineralogy and strength of calcifying plants and animals along pCO2 gradients with training from Brownlee’s group in cell physiology, including electrophysiology and confocal microscopy with temperature and light control. The student will take part in fieldwork campaigns to CO2 vents and training visits to Martin’s group in 2011 to become familiar with ocean acidification experiments on marine photosynthetic organisms and Bijma’s group in 2012 to work on the mineralogy and skeletal geochemisty of calcified organisms collected along natural gradients of pCO2. The student will use these skills to examine the effects of chronic hypercapnia on biological processes (recruitment, growth, survival, repro duction, calcification and photosynthesis) at volcanic CO2 vents.

Candidates should have or expect to obtain at least an upper second class Honours degree in Ocean Sciences. Qualified divers with training in GIS, chemistry and a relevant MSc or MRes in a related numerate subject would be particularly welcome. The studentship will be full-time for three years at the standard NERC rate (currently £13,290 per annum). The position is open to UK citizens and EU citizens with appropriate qualification who have been resident or studied in the UK for three years. Interviews are likely to take place in May 2010, and studentships are likely to commence in September 2010.

For further information on the project, please contact Dr Jason Hall-Spencer by email ( Background information on the Plymouth Marine Science Partnership can be found at: Applicants should send a completed application form (, CV, and a letter detailing their suitability for the post as well as contact details of two academic referees to Mrs C Watson, Faculty of Science and Technology, Plymouth PL4 8AA or e-mail

Closing date for applications: 7 May 2010

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