Funded PhD Project Available – Blue carbon under changing environmental conditions

Deadline: September 30 2016

As part of a new “Oceans of Change” initiative a funded PhD project is available through the Institute of Marine Science, University of Auckland. The PhD student will be based in the School of Environment at the University of Auckland, supervised by Dr Luitgard Schwendenmann.

Estuarine and coastal sediments provide a range of ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration and nutrient cycling. The pools and fluxes of carbon and nutrients in estuarine and coastal sediments are highly variable reflecting the lateral and vertical exchange of elements and sediment-biota interactions at the land – ocean interface. However, the factors and processes driving blue carbon storage and transformation remain largely unknown. Further, the combined effects of changing environmental conditions (e.g., terrestrial nutrient input, warming, ocean acidification) on sedimentary ecosystem processes and the stability of organic carbon has received little attention in New Zealand. The role of the PhD student is to design and conduct field and laboratory studies to (1) measure accumulation and transformation of organic carbon and nutrients in estuarine and coastal sediments, (2) quantify greenhouse gas emissions at the land – ocean interface, (3) investigate the potential impact of terrestrial nutrient input, temperature and ocean acidification on sediment carbon and nutrient dynamics, and (3) examine the relationship between blue carbon and other coastal ecosystem processes.

The scholarship consists of a stipend of NZ$27,000 per annum tax-free and also covers University of Auckland PhD fees. The scholarship is open to both domestic and international candidates. Applicants will need to meet the University’s criteria for entry into the PhD programme.

Applicants for this project should hold a first class MSc or honours degree in biogeochemistry, environmental chemistry or closely related fields. Experience with carbon and nutrient measurements and manipulative experiments is preferred. The project involves both field and lab work and may include boat work.

Applications should include evidence of qualifications (academic transcript) and research experience, together with a curriculum vitae and contact details of two academic referees. Applications should be supported by a cover letter that states why the candidate is interested in the position and how their qualifications are suited to the proposed research. Please email with completed applications as well as any additional inquiries. Closing date for applications is 30 September 2016 with the expectation of commencement in December 2016.