NERC GW4 3.5-year PhD studentship: The influence of breathing sediment on oxygen dynamics and the marine benthos

Dr Lee Bryant1, Dr Tom Bell2, Dr Danielle Wain1 and Dr Ana Queirós2

1University of Bath, 2Plymouth Marine Laboratory.

A 3.5-year NERC-funded PhD position, to start in September 2015, is available at the University of Bath. This multidisciplinary PhD will combine biogeochemical cycling in the water column and benthos, atmospheric eddy correlation, hydrodynamics and benthic-pelagic coupling to expand into the recent field of aquatic applications of eddy correlation, providing the doctoral student with an excellent multidisciplinary basis for a research career.

Oxygen (O2) is a key environmental parameter that governs water quality, biogeochemical processes, and defines important habitat thresholds for marine life. Evaluation of oxygen dynamics and other biogeochemical fluxes within the water column and at the sediment-water interface is vital to understanding O2 and nutrient budgets and overall aquatic ecosystem health. This project will combine a novel suite of state-of-the-art instruments to measure sediment porewater and water column data and unify established work on eddy correlation fluxes and benthic-water-column interactions.

The student will be joining two dynamic, active, and strongly complementary research groups (UoB and PML). The student will become competent in all aspects involved in a successful field-based study: obtaining background theory, designing and organising field campaigns and supporting laboratory experiments, equipment operation including microprofiling and lander deployment, sea survival, mooring design and equipment deployment, data collection, analysis, and presentation of results.

The student will have the opportunity to form strong links with other PML researchers within the NERC-Defra Marine Ecosystem Research Program, which aims to improve understanding of seasonality in benthic-pelagic processes at the Western Channel Observatory (WCO).

We seek an enthusiastic student who has achieved at least a 2:1 BSc Honours in a physical or environmental science. Preferred qualifications include experience with fieldwork and laboratory work.

For further information on the project and the position, please contact either Dr. Lee Bryant ( or Dr. Tom Bell (

For more info about the WCO, please visit:

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