PhD position: influence of ocean alkalinity enhancement on phytoplankton species composition

Closing Date

1st May 2021*

Applicants should contact the primary supervisor, and submit their Expression of Interest (EOI) and Application as soon as possible.

*unless filled earlier

The Research Project

Humankind needs to remove 100-900 gigatons of CO2 from the atmosphere by the end of the 21st century to keep global warming below 2°C. This herculean task depends on the wide-ranging application of so-called negative emission technologies (NETs). Unfortunately, not a single NET has been proven to function at the gigaton-scale. One of the most promising ideas is to accelerate weathering reactions of minerals that consume CO2 when they dissolve (known as “Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement”). However, the desired consumption of atmospheric CO2 during dissolution would inevitably perturb the oceans with huge amounts of mineral dissolution products (alkalinity, Si, trace metals).

This PhD project will investigate if and how Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement could affect growth and photosynthesis of marine phytoplankton, which are responsible for ~50% of primary production on Earth. The candidate will conduct a range of laboratory incubation experiments and participate in at least one international mesocosm study off the coast of Norway or the Canary Islands (Spain). Furthermore, the candidate will participate in an indoor mesocosm experiment where estuarine phytoplankton communities from Tasmania are investigated. The research within this project aims to test the “green or white ocean hypothesis”, which suggests that coccolithophores will be the winners when carbonate minerals will be used (white ocean), while diatoms and cyanobacteria will win when silicate minerals will be used (green ocean). The overarching goal is to contribute, significantly, to the assessment of Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement as a tool to counteract climate change.

  • Honours or Master degree in biological or chemical oceanography or closely related field (e.g. environmental microbiology). Preferably experience with phytoplankton
  • Great abilities to work in teams and collaborative environments
  • Ability to spend extended periods abroad or on international research vessels during field studies
  • Enthusiasm for scientific discourse and progress
  • Fluent English skills
  • Very good writing skills
  • Reliable and highly motivated

See the following web page for entry requirements:

Application Process

Applicants who require more information or are interested in this specific project should first contact the listed Supervisor. Information and guidance on the application process can be found on the Apply Now website.

Information about scholarships is available on the Scholarships webpage.

More Information

Please contact, Dr Lennart Bach for further information.

More information.

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