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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.

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BAKKER_UENV18EE

BAKKER_UENV18EE - The role of sea ice in the Southern Ocean carbon sink using novel biogeochemical sensors

Project description

Figure: The rapid decrease in the fugacity of carbon dioxide (fCO2) in surface water (here shown as the difference in the fugacity across the sea surface) during sea ice melt in the Weddell Sea along 0°W for 64°S to 61°S from 8 to 10 December 2002 (black) to 20 December 2002 (red) (Source: Bakker et al., 2008, Biogeosciences 5: 1373-1386)

Selected other project supervisors:
Dr Martin Johnson (UEA)
Dr Bastien Queste (UEA)
Dr Hugh Venables (British Antarctic Survey)
Dr Mario Hoppema (Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research)
Dr Giorgio Dall’Olmo (Plymouth Marine Laboratory)

Sea ice plays an important role in Southern Ocean carbon dynamics (Bakker et al., 2008). For example, sea ice reduces CO2 (carbon dioxide) outgassing in winter, as studied at the Rothera Antarctic Timeseries (RaTS) on the West Antarctic Peninsula (Legge et al., 2015). The PICCOLO research project (2017-2022) will investigate processes influencing ocean carbon uptake in the seasonally ice-covered Weddell Gyre, a cyclonic gyre in the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean. It will combine a ship-based process cruise with biogeochemical sensors on gliders, floats, seals and Autosub. The sensor data will provide year-round information on the changes to watermass carbon as water upwells, is modified in the upper ocean and sinks to form Antarctic Bottom Water.

This PhD research project has these objectives:

  1. To quantify ocean CO2 uptake during the pre-conditioning and formation of Antarctic Bottom Water
  2. To determine seasonal and year-to-year variation in the CO2 sink and their drivers in seasonally ice covered waters

You will deploy biogeochemical floats and take samples in the Weddell Gyre on the ice breaker R.V. Polarstern (December 2018 - February 2019), ahead of the main PICCOLO cruise, subject to a successful medical and sea survival training. You will carry out and interpret carbonate chemistry analyses on Polarstern and RaTS samples. You will evaluate biogeochemical sensor measurements against shipboard measurements (e.g. Dall’Olmo et al., 2016). You will quantify the processes affecting ocean carbon uptake in the Weddell Gyre and at RaTS (Legge et al., 2017).

This project of global significance includes training in seagoing research, use of novel sensors, chemical analyses and scientific data interpretation. You will collaborate with dynamic research teams at University of East Anglia, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, the British Antarctic Survey and the Alfred Wegener Institute. You will present your findings at (inter-)national scientific conferences, in peer-reviewed scientific publications and a PhD thesis.

We seek an enthusiastic, pro-active team player with strong scientific interests and self-motivation. You will have at least a 2.1 honours degree in physics, chemistry, mathematics, computing, or a branch of environmental science.

Funding
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.

While a start date of 1 July 2018 is preferable, a start date of 1 October would be possible (or, with the agreement of the supervisors, any date in between). 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).

References

  1. Bakker, D. C. E., Hoppema, M., Schröder, M., Geibert, W., De Baar, H. J. W. (2008) A rapid transition from ice covered CO2–rich waters to a biologically mediated CO2 sink in the eastern Weddell Gyre. Biogeosciences 5: 1373-1386. doi:10.5194/bg-5-1373-2008.
  2. Landschützer, P., Gruber, N., Haumann, F. A., Rödenbeck, C., Bakker, D. C. E., Van Heuven, S., Hoppema, M., Metzl, N., Sweeney, C., Takahashi, T., Tilbrook, B., Wanninkhof, R. (2015) The reinvigoration of the Southern Ocean carbon sink. Science 349 (6253): 1221-1224. doi:10.1126/science.aab2620.
  3. Legge, O. J., Bakker, D. C. E., Johnson, M. T., Meredith, M. P, Venables, H. J., Brown, P. J., Lee, G. A. (2015) The seasonal cycle of ocean-atmosphere CO2 Flux in Ryder Bay, West Antarctic Peninsula. Geophysical Research Letters 42(8): 2934-2942. doi:10.1002/2015GL063796.
  4. Legge, O. J., Bakker, D. C. E., Meredith, M. P, Venables, H. J., Brown, P. J., Jones, E. M., Johnson, M. T. (2017) The seasonal cycle of carbonate system processes in Ryder Bay, West Antarctic Peninsula. Deep-Sea Research II 139: 167-180. doi:10.1016/j.dsr2.2016.11.006.
  5. Dall’Olmo, G., Dingle, J., Polimene, L., Brewin, R. J. W., Claustre, H. (2016) Substantial energy input to the mesopelagic ecosystem from the seasonal mixed-layer pump. Nature Geoscience 9: 820-823. doi:10.1038/NGEO2818.