PhD opportunity: “Macroalgal Ecology: Grazing and Acidification (MEGA)”, Plymouth University, UK

The closing date for applications is 17:00 on 15 September 2015!

Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship. The studentship may start as early as 1 October 2015.

Project description

This project will address four question areas using a combination of home laboratory-based studies using field-collected algal material and in-situ experiments conducted at the well-characterised CO2 seeps off the island of Vulcano in the Tyrrhenian Sea:

  • How does OA affect growth and metabolism of macroalgae?
  • How does OA affect the primary and secondary metabolism of macroalgae?
  • How do OA-linked changes in macroalgal chemistry affect food quality of algae, grazer food preference, metabolism, assimilation, growth and energetics?
  • How do OA-linked changes in macroalgae affect assemblage recruitment and composition?

Location of the studentship

The studentship will be based in the Marine Biology and Ecology Research Centre, part of the School of Marine Science and Engineering on the Plymouth main campus.


Applicant should have (at least) a first or upper second class honours degree in an appropriate subject and preferably a relevant MSc or MRes qualification.The successful applicant is likely to have a first-class honours degree (or equivalent) and/or Master’s in Biology or Ecology, experience of both field and laboratory studies, and should be able to demonstrate a sound basic knowledge in ecological theory, experimental design and statistical analysis. Willingness to travel and spend long periods in the field working are essential; a full driving licence, fluency in English and experience working underwater are desirable.

The studentship is supported for 3 years and includes full Home/EU tuition fees plus a stipend of £14,057 per annum. The studentship will only fully fund those applicants who are eligible for Home/EU fees with relevant qualifications. Applicants normally required to cover overseas fees will have to cover the difference between the Home/EU and the overseas tuition fee rates (approximately £10,800 per annum).


If you wish to discuss this project further informally, please contact Dr Andy Foggo (email: A.Foggo(at) However, formal applications must be made in accordance with the details shown below.

You can apply via the online application form which can be found at: and click ‘Apply’.

Please mark it FAO Francesca Niedzielski and clearly state that you are applying for a PhD studentship within the School of Marine Science and Engineering.


DoS Dr Andy Foggo (email: A.Foggo(at) specialises in the biodiversity of aquatic systems and the role of chemical defence in algae and its consequences for benthic organisms. He has published 44 papers (H index 23) in journals including Nature Climate Change and Global Change Biology, generating over 1,400 citations.

2nd Supervisor Dr Antony Knights (antony.knights(at) PU in January 2014 as a Lecturer in Marine Ecology and is an early career researcher. He specialises in supply-side ecology, population dynamics and species interactions with their environment. He has published 20 papers (H-index 10).

3rd Supervisor: Professor Jason Hall-Spencer (jason.hall-spencer(at) pioneered the use of CO2 seeps to understand the impacts of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems. He has published 84 papers (H-index 34) in journals such as Nature, Nature Climate Change and Ecology, generating >4000 citations.

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