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ENV East Doctoral Training Partnership


Applications to the EnvEast Doctoral Training Partnership are now closed.

Below you can browse some of the PhD projects we have previously funded; if you would like to be informed when applications open, or if you have any questions about EnvEast and our application process, please email us.

Projects previously funded by EnvEast


Winners and losers in a more acidified ocean: polar against sub-polar pteropods

Project description

Ocean acidification, induced by increasing anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions, is recognised by reductions in pH, carbonate ion concentration, and calcium carbonate saturation state in the upper ocean. These effects are especially severe at high-latitudes, where cold temperatures enhance the solubility of CO2. Pteropods, the main planktonic producers of aragonite in the worlds’ oceans, are particularly vulnerable to forecasted changes in sea water carbonate chemistry. Although polar species L. helicina and sub-polar species L. retroversa belong to the same genus, their life-history and physiology are different. Biogeographic shifts in species distributions resulting from a change in environmental conditions are widely reported, particularly during the present era of rapid regional climatic change. Since L. helicina is the dominant calcifying species in some parts of the Southern Ocean, its potential regional extinction through ocean acidification can have wide biogeochemical implications. Whether or not L. retroversa will replace L. helicina is an important question for polar foodwebs and carbon budget. 

The project will aim to carry out comparative analyses on the physiology and life-history of L. helicina and L. Retroversa. The relative abundance of both species will be investigated on exiting zooplankton net and sediment trap long term datasets, mainly in the Southern Ocean, but also in Arctic. The sensitivity of both species to ocean acidification will be investigated in incubation experiments, with manipulated seawater, in order to estimate the specific responses of these organisms under the combined impacts of increasing of CO2 levels and temperature.

  • Start date 1 October 2014