Skip to Content


Applications are now open for PhD studentships starting in October 2018. 

Please read the recruitment introduction for more information about eligibility, how to apply, and possibilities for further funding.

The deadline for applications is 8 January 2018.

Project search


BAKER_UENV18EE - Seawater control of an atmospheric pollutant: Ocean-atmosphere interactions between iodine and ozone

Project description

Selected other supervisors:
Dr Thomas Bell (Plymouth Marine Laboratory)

Scientific background
Ozone is a key atmospheric oxidant, greenhouse gas and air pollutant. Loss of ozone to the sea surface is an important but poorly constrained process, with implications for coastal air quality forecasts. Some ozone loss is driven by rapid reactions with iodide (I-) in the sea surface. These reactions lead to the production of volatile iodinated compounds that cause further atmospheric ozone destruction.

The sea surface microlayer (SML) is key to understanding the impact of iodide on atmospheric composition.  The SML is the thin (few 10s of µm) film of water between the atmosphere and ocean. This is where ozone and iodide mix and react, and its composition is very different to that of bulk seawater. In particular the SML contains very high concentrations of organic matter, which itself reacts with ozone, and with the products of the ozone – iodide reaction (HOI and I2). We urgently need to understand the influence of the SML on ozone-iodide reactions so that we can quantify the impact of this chemistry.

Research methodology
Your role will be to apply novel analytical techniques to the study of ozone - iodide interactions at the SML. You will design controlled laboratory studies at the UEA air-sea reaction chamber and apply your knowledge and experience to studies at an established air-sea interaction field site in Plymouth.

You will receive comprehensive, hands-on training in working in a state-of-the-art environmentally controlled air-sea reaction chamber, and in advanced analytical techniques, including mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), flow voltammetric and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) analysis. Alongside this, you will receive exceptional training opportunities in marine fieldwork at the Western Channel and Penlee Point Atmospheric Observatories.

You will benefit from a team of experienced and friendly supervisors from the University of East Anglia and Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the array of scientific networks and career opportunities associated with these institutes.

Person specification
We are looking for a student with a passion for marine and atmospheric science, holding a BSc or Masters level degree in Marine or Atmospheric Science, Environmental Science, Chemistry (or similar).

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the EnvEast NERC Doctoral Training Partnership, comprising the Universities of East Anglia, Essex and Kent, with over twenty other research partners. Undertaking a PhD with the EnvEast DTP will involve attendance at mandatory training events throughout the course of the PhD.

Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed by EnvEast on 12/13 February 2018.

Selected candidates who meet RCUK’s eligibility criteria will be awarded a NERC studentship - in 2017/18, the stipend is £14,553. Ordinarily, EnvEast studentships are for 3.5 years, although longer awards may be made to applicants from quantitative disciplines who have limited experience in the environmental sciences, to allow them to take appropriate advanced-level courses in the subject area.

In most cases, UK and EU nationals who have been resident in the UK for 3 years are eligible for a stipend. For non-UK EU-resident applicants NERC funding can be used to cover tuition fees, RTSG and training costs, but not any part of the stipend. Individual institutes may, however, elect to provide a stipend from their own resources.

This PhD studentship is expected to begin in September/October 2018. Both full-time and part-time study are possible (those planning to study part-time may wish to discuss this with the supervisor before applying).


  1. M. Martino, B. Lézé, A.R. Baker, P.S. Liss. (2012). Chemical controls on ozone deposition to water, Geophysical Research Letters, 39, L05809.
  2. L.J. Carpenter, S.M. MacDonald, M.D. Shaw, R. Kumar, R.W. Saunders, R. Parthipan, J. Wilson, J.M.C. Plane. (2013). Atmospheric iodine levels influenced by sea surface emissions of inorganic iodine, Nature Geoscience, 6, 108-111.
  3. M. Martino, G.P. Mills, J. Woeltjen, P.S. Liss. (2009). A new source of volatile organoiodine compounds in surface seawater, Geophysical Research Letters, 36, L01609.
  4. R.J. Chance, A.R. Baker, L.J. Carpenter, T.D. Jickells. (2014). The distribution of iodide at the sea surface, Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, 16, 1841-1859.
  5. R.P.Sims, U. Schuster, A. J. Watson, M. X. Yang, F. E. Hopkins, J. Stephens, T. G. Bell, (2017). A measurement system for vertical seawater profiles close to the air/sea interface, Ocean Sci., 13, 649-660, 2017.