PhD oppurtunity: The effects of ocean acidification on coralline macroalgae in European coastal waters

Dept/School: Cardiff School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Cardiff University
Project Supervisor(s): Dr R Perkins
Funding Availability: Directly Funded Project (European/UK Students Only)
Application Deadline: 14 May 2010

This PhD project focuses on the responses of coralline red algae and their associated biofilms to ocean acidification. These critically important calcifying macroalgae (CM) are key primary producers, dominate hard surfaces from polar to tropical coral reefs to > 200 m deep, and are ecosystem engineers providing a substratum for many invertebrates. They produce a skeleton of high-Mg calcite which makes them particularly sensitive to the current changes in ocean chemistry. The effect of the associated biofilm on the growth of coralline algae and its response to ocean acidification is unknown. The aim of this project is to quantify the response of CMs to ocean acidification by asking the following questions: 1) Does CM material not impacted by anthropogenic emissions exhibit a different skeletal morphology to fresh material? 2) Will CM growth rate vary along a latitudinal gradient due to different levels of photo-oxidative stress? 3) Will ocean acidification exacerbate the level of photo-oxidative stress in CMs by down regulated/inhibited productivity? 4) Will the balance between macroalgae and their predominantly non-calcifying biofilms shift as a result of OA? The project will be supervised by experts in each aspect of the project: Dr Perkins (Cardiff University), Dr Yallop (Bristol University) and Prof. Brodie (NHM, CASE partner), a consortium with expertise in micro- and macroalgal photophysiology, molecular biology and the global distribution of macroalgae. There will also be collaboration with Dr Bartsch (AWI Bremerhaven; BIOACID project). With field sites spanning a latitudinal gradient in the northeast Atlantic (Spain, UK and Iceland), the research programme will combine laboratory and field studies including molecular techniques, examination of skeletal morphology, measurements of photosynthesis and fluorescence, and comparative growth patterns to address the questions posed. For further details contact: Dr R. Perkins at or 029 2087 5026.

Funding Notes
You should be a highly motivated applicant with a first or upper-second class degree in environmental sciences, biology or biogeochemistry. This fully funded studentship is available to UK and EU candidates who have ordinarily been resident in the UK throughout the 3 year period prior to the date of the award. EU candidates who have not resided in the UK for the past 3 years are only eligible for fees. This studentship is not available for non- UK/EU students. To apply go to: Your application must be accompanied by a full CV, covering letter and two references.

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