Biosciences: Fully-funded PhD Studentship: Biodiversity and the Resilience of Salt Marsh Ecosystems to Climate Change

Swansea University


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Award info

  • Award values:
  • Bursary :£13863 for 3 years

    Fees coverage : 100% coverage for 3 years

  • Application deadline:
  • 06-Jan-15*
    *This is the last application deadline supplied by the provider for this award, we are currently working on updating this information.
  • Award type:
    • Academic excellence
  • Award coverage:
  • Stipend, Tuition fees
  • Award level:
  • Career based / vocational
  • Subject area:
  • Sciences: Pure and Applied Engineering
  • Number of awards:
  • 1
Application info

  • Nationality:
  • EU
  • Gender:
  • Both
  • Eligibility requirement:
  • Candidates must have at least an upper-second class honours degree, or a master's degree, in a relevant discipline. This studentship is open to UK/EU students only.
  • Application details:
  • This ambitious PhD project (April 2015 – October 2018) will investigate how biodiversity affects the resilience of salt marshes to climate change – that is, the ability of this important coastal ecosystem to persist through the 21st century. The student will benefit from working within RESILCOAST – a newly formed research cluster that is part of the Welsh Government’s National Research Network for Low Carbon Energy and the Environment (NRN-LCEE). See for details of RESILCOAST. Salt marshes provide many ecosystem services, including globally-significant carbon storage, buffering of coastal waters from terrestrial pollutants, and protection for coastlines. Yet, global environmental changes (e.g., increasing storminess), compounded by local pressures (e.g. agricultural run-off), threaten to trigger collapse of some salt marshes. By examining links between the structure of ecological communities and the processes underpinning resilience to environmental change, this project will help identify where salt marshes will be most vulnerable to loss and inform management to increase their resilience. This project will specifically examine how the functional composition and diversity of salt marsh plant communities mediates their ability to resist and recover from storm events. The successful applicant will use large-scale field observations and manipulative experiments to link environmental conditions, plant community structure and resistance to, and recovery from, both real and experimentally-simulated storm events. Fieldwork will be conducted in marshes close to Swansea. Resulting data will be analysed using cutting-edge statistical and dynamical modelling techniques – allowing the spatial and temporal scales of inferences to be expanded beyond experiments. The project will be embedded within the RESILICOAST research cluster and the student will work closely with partners who collectively explore the implications of their findings for long-term salt marsh dynamics, ecosystem services and policy. The studentship will be based in the Department of Biosciences at Swansea University, UK; a vibrant, growing, research-led institution providing a high quality, diverse range of graduate training. The student will benefit from the complementary expertise of supervisors Dr John Griffin (biodiversity), Dr Mike Fowler (ecological modelling), and Dr Stuart Jenkins (ecological impacts of climate change) and from further collaboration within the interdisciplinary RESILICOAST cluster. Primary Supervisors: Dr John Griffin, Dr Mike Fowler (Swansea University), and Dr Stuart Jenkins (Bangor University) Advisors: Dr Martin Skov (Bangor University), and Dr Nicola Beaumont (Plymouth Marine Laboratory). Collaborators: The RESILCOAST project: Dr Emmer Litt (Natural Resources Wales); Dr Tjeerd Bouma NIOZ - The Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research; Dr Angus Garbutt (Center for Ecology and Hydrology), Dr Rhoda Ballinger and Dr Eli Lazarus (Cardiff University)