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Environmental Exposure to Polymers and their Transformation Products in a Changing World (PhD in Environmental Science)

Environmental Exposure to Polymers and their Transformation Products in a Changing World (PhD in Environmental Science)

Lead supervisor: Prof. Alistair Boxall, Department of Environment and Geography, University of York

Co-supervisors: Dr Dave Spurgeon and Ms Alice Horton (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology)

To discuss your suitability for this project please email: alistair.boxall@york.ac.uk

We are looking for an enthusiastic individual to work on a 3.5 year PhD project exploring the fate, behaviour and exposure of plastics and other polymers in the aquatic environment. The project will involve laboratory and field-based studies to understand the pathways of degradation of these materials under different environmental conditions and modelling studies to assess the concentrations of polymers and their transformation products in riverine systems. During the project you will develop skills in: environmental fate investigations; invertebrate-polymer interactions; analysis and characterisation of polymer particles and trace dissolved organics in waters and sediments; and spatial modelling of chemical exposure.

You will be based in the group of Professor Alistair Boxall in the Department of Environment and Geography. Comprising eight PhD students and two postdoctoral researchers, the group is recognised internationally for its work on the emissions, fate, effects and risks of emerging contaminants (pharmaceuticals, nanomaterials and polymers) in the natural environment. You will spend time at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology exploring organism polymer interactions. Candidates should hold at last least an upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in Environmental Science, Biology or Chemistry.

CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS:  23h59min on Tuesday 9th January 2019

Funding Notes

This is a 3.5 year fully-funded studentship part of the NERC Doctoral Training Partnership in Adapting to the Challenges of a Changing Environment (ACCE). The studentship covers: (i) a tax-free stipend at the standard Research Council rate (around £15,000 per year), (ii) tuition fees at UK/EU rate, (iii) research consumables and training necessary for the project. 

Entry requirements: At least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent in any relevant subject that provides the necessary skills, knowledge and experience for the DTP, including environmental, biological, chemical, mathematical, physical and social sciences. 

Other information

Shortlisting: Applicants will be notified if they have been selected for interview in the week commencing on Monday 28 January 2019.

Interviews: Shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview to take place in the Department of Biology at the University of York in the week beginning 11 February 2019 (or the following week). As part of the interview process candidates will be asked to give a 5 minute presentation on a research project carried out by them.

More information and applications details are available on https://www.york.ac.uk/environment/postgraduate/nercdtp/

How will air pollution and climate change combine to affect future food supply? (PhD in Environmental Science)

How will air pollution and climate change combine to affect future food supply?  (PhD in Environmental Science)

Lead supervisor: Prof. Lisa Emberson, Department of Environment and Geography, University of York

Co-supervisors: Dr Massimo Vieno and Dr Gary Hayman(Centre for Ecology and Hydrology)

To discuss your suitability for this project please email: lisa.emberson@york.ac.uk

 The record high temperatures and extended droughts experienced across much of the northern hemisphere during the summer of 2018 serve as a stark reminder of the severe impacts climate change will cause arable agriculture. At the same time ozone pollution continues to exceed air quality guidelines across many agriculturally important regions in Europe and the rest of the world. Ozone, being a photochemical pollutant, will tend to increase under hot, dry, sunny conditions making it a particularly problematic under future climate change. Currently, we have little understanding of how these two stressors will combine to damage arable productivity, food supply and hence food security, a crucial knowledge gap that this studentship will address.

This project will use existing empirical data from a state-of-the-art experimental facility in the US to understand key physiological mechanisms impacted by pollution. This empirical database will help identify the key mechanisms by which ozone will influence water use efficiency i.e. through changes in stomatal conductance, reduction in root-shoot biomass ratios and acceleration of leaf senescence reducing plant water utilization. These mechanisms will be translated into algorithms that connect within an existing crop model construct (DO3SE-Crop) so that the combined influence of ozone, water stress and other climate variables on plant physiology can be used to simulate whole crop response. These algorithms will be developed so that they are also suitable for direct incorporation into existing air quality models (i.e. the EMEP4UK model via CEH Edinburgh) and state-of-the-art land surface models (i.e. the JULES model via CEH Wallingford) currently used to develop Earth System Models. This allows the results of this studentship to feed directly into models used by national, regional and global scale decision makers to develop policy on air quality, climate change and future food supply.

This studentship will be based at the Stockholm Environment Institute at York (SEI York) at the University of York. Depending on available skills and experience, the successful applicant will receive training in plant physiology, modelling and computer programming (Fortran, Python) and become part of the vibrant postgraduate community at SEI York.

This will be an unprecedented opportunity to work with researchers around the world at the forefront of empirical research and model development to understand the impact of air pollution and climate change on arable crop yields; this research will ultimately support the development of future low emission development pathways.

CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS:  23h59min on Tuesday 9th January 2019

Funding Notes

This is a 3.5 year fully-funded studentship part of the NERC Doctoral Training Partnership in Adapting to the Challenges of a Changing Environment (ACCE). The studentship covers: (i) a tax-free stipend at the standard Research Council rate (around £15,000 per year), (ii) tuition fees at UK/EU rate, (iii) research consumables and training necessary for the project. 

Entry requirements: At least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent in any relevant subject that provides the necessary skills, knowledge and experience for the DTP, including environmental, biological, chemical, mathematical, physical and social sciences. 

Other information

Shortlisting: Applicants will be notified if they have been selected for interview in the week commencing on Monday 28 January 2019.

Interviews: Shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview to take place in the Department of Biology at the University of York in the week beginning 11 February 2019 (or the following week). As part of the interview process candidates will be asked to give a 5 minute presentation on a research project carried out by them.

More information and applications details are available on https://www.york.ac.uk/environment/postgraduate/nercdtp/

Predicting the future of coral reefs: inverse modelling of the past to predict the future (PhD in Environmental Geography)

Predicting the future of coral reefs: inverse modelling of the past to predict the future (PhD in Environmental Geography) 

Lead supervisor: Dr Jon Hill, Department of Environment and Geography, University of York

Co-supervisors: Prof. Peter Burgess (University of Liverpool), Prof. Fiona Whitaker (University of Bristol), Prof. Jody Webster (University of Sydney, Australia)

To discuss your suitability for this project please email: jon.hill@york.ac.uk

Coral reefs are the marine equivalent of rainforests: occupying 0.1% of the world's ocean surface but hosting 38% of marine species. Reefs around the world are currently being destroyed by a number of factors, including rising ocean temperature. How will they react to predicted climate change?

We can use geological and biological knowledge, such as rock cores and changes in ecology through time, to predict the future. This project will create the first machine learning model of reef dynamics and incorporate both geological and biological data, enabling more accurate predictions of the impacts of future climate change.

We are looking for a student to join a growing and inclusive research team in York that uses numerical methods to tackle environmental problems. You should have a background in mathematics or computer science with a passion to develop geological and ecological knowledge or a background in geosciences/ecology with a keen interest in computer modelling. The project is truly interdisciplinary so we will provide specialist training as needed.

There is the possibility of travelling to the Great Barrier Reef to collect data to calibrate and test the model with partners at the University of Sydney within the project.

The research will be based in the Environment Department at the University of York. Rated second in the UK and 17th in the world for the impact of our research, the Environment department at the University of York offers an outstanding, dynamic and multidisciplinary environment in which to carry out PhD research. Our current PhD students come from many countries around the world and are well supported by a comprehensive programme of training and an inclusive supervision network.

For more information on supervisors see:

Relevant papers from the supervisors:

  • Hill, J., Wood, R., Curtis, A., and Tetzlaff, D. M. 2012. Preservation of forcing signals in shallow water carbonate sediments. Sedimentary Geology 275-276: 79-92. DOI:10.1016/j.sedgeo.2012.07.017
  • Hill, J., Tetzlaff, D.M., Curtis, A., and Wood, R. A. 2010. Modeling shallow water carbonates. Computers and Geoscience 35:1862-1874. DOI:10.1016/j.cageo.2008.12.006
  • Parkinson, S.D., Funke, S.W., Hill, J., Piggott, M.D., Allison, P.A. 2017. Application of the adjoint approach to optimise the initial conditions of a turbidity current. Geoscientific Model Development 10, 1051-1068. DOI:10.5194/gmd-10-1051-2017
  • Muto, T., Steel, R. J., & Burgess, P. M. (2016). Contributions to sequence stratigraphy from analogue and numerical experiments. Journal of the Geological Society, 173(5), 837-844. doi:10.1144/jgs2015-127

CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS:  23h59min on Tuesday 9th January 2019

Funding Notes

This is a 3.5 year fully-funded studentship part of the NERC Doctoral Training Partnership in Adapting to the Challenges of a Changing Environment (ACCE). The studentship covers: (i) a tax-free stipend at the standard Research Council rate (around £15,000 per year), (ii) tuition fees at UK/EU rate, (iii) research consumables and training necessary for the project. 

Entry requirements: At least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent in any relevant subject that provides the necessary skills, knowledge and experience for the DTP, including environmental, biological, chemical, mathematical, physical and social sciences. 

Other information

Shortlisting: Applicants will be notified if they have been selected for interview in the week commencing on Monday 28 January 2019.

Interviews: Shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview to take place in the Department of Biology at the University of York in the week beginning 11 February 2019 (or the following week). As part of the interview process candidates will be asked to give a 5 minute presentation on a research project carried out by them.

More information and applications details are available on https://www.york.ac.uk/environment/postgraduate/nercdtp/

 

 

Do cryptic species matter? Investigating the ecological differences between earthworm cryptic species (PhD in Environmental Science)

Do cryptic species matter? Investigating the ecological differences between earthworm cryptic species (PhD in Environmental Science)

Lead supervisor: Prof. Mark Hodson, Department of Environment and Geography, University of York

Co-supervisor: Dr Paul Eggleton (Natural History Museum)

To discuss your suitability for this project please email: mark.hodson@york.ac.uk

The omics revolution has transformed the world of taxonomy. Almost over night, organisms that were once considered to be the same species on the basis of their morphology have been grouped into different cryptic species with significantly different genetics. However, amidst this wealth of genetic data a central unresolved question is: how far do genetic species differ from classical morphological species in their characteristics. In particular, do these genetic species have different ecological responses from the morphological species? This is an important question because it may reduce the value of ecological data obtained from morphological species in the absence of further breaking down into genetic species components. It goes right to the heart of what we should be measuring when we undertake environmental sampling.

We will examine this question using UK earthworms. They form an excellent study system for assessing the ecological importance of cryptic species because (1) they are drivers of key soil processes that result in the delivery of important ecosystem services such as food production and water filtration and (2) they are known to have multiple cryptic species.

This project will combine field work, classical taxonomy, controlled laboratory experiments and the application of omics technology.

You will collect earthworms from the field, learn how to identify them using classic taxonomic keys and design experiments to investigate their contribution to a range of soil processes such as soil drainage, soil structure formation and the break down of organic matter and nutrient cycling. You will then learn how to apply current omics technologies to identify species. By comparing and contrasting the ecology of individual earthworms you will then be able to determine whether cryptic species behave differently from other members of the same morphological species.

This project is suited to anyone with an interest in ecology who wants to combine laboratory experiments, field work and molecular analysis.

CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS:  23h59min on Tuesday 9th January 2019

Funding Notes

This is a 3.5 year fully-funded studentship part of the NERC Doctoral Training Partnership in Adapting to the Challenges of a Changing Environment (ACCE). The studentship covers: (i) a tax-free stipend at the standard Research Council rate (around £15,000 per year), (ii) tuition fees at UK/EU rate, (iii) research consumables and training necessary for the project. 

Entry requirements: At least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent in any relevant subject that provides the necessary skills, knowledge and experience for the DTP, including environmental, biological, chemical, mathematical, physical and social sciences. 

Other information

Shortlisting: Applicants will be notified if they have been selected for interview in the week commencing on Monday 28 January 2019.

Interviews: Shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview to take place in the Department of Biology at the University of York in the week beginning 11 February 2019 (or the following week). As part of the interview process candidates will be asked to give a 5 minute presentation on a research project carried out by them.

More information and applications details are available on https://www.york.ac.uk/environment/postgraduate/nercdtp/

Links between the marine cycles of nitrogen and iodine (PhD in Environmental Science)

Links between the marine cycles of nitrogen and iodine (PhD in Environmental Science)

Lead supervisor: Dr Claire Hughes, Department of Environment and Geography, University of York

Co-supervisor: Dr Claire Mahaffey (University of Liverpool)

To discuss your suitability for this project please email: c.hughes@york.ac.uk

Recent research has established that the reaction of iodide with ozone at the sea surface plays an important role in controlling atmospheric chemistry and composition. The loss of tropospheric ozone resulting from this process has major impacts on climate and air quality. The marine distribution of iodide controls ozone deposition to the sea surface and sea-air iodine emissions, but the processes controlling iodine speciation in seawater remain poorly understood. It has been suggested that there are links between nitrogen and iodine cycling in seawater but this is yet to be fully investigated. More so, the oceanic nitrogen cycle in undergoing change in response to stratification, ocean acidification and changes in atmospheric deposition. If changes in iodine speciation are linked to key processes in the marine nitrogen cycle (e.g. nitrification, assimilation) there may be significant alterations to the ocean distribution of iodide in the future with implications for tropospheric ozone.

This studentship will establish if key processes in the marine nitrogen cycle drive changes in iodine speciation, and determine how future alterations to the marine nitrogen cycle under global change will impact iodine cycling. This will be a predominantly laboratory-based study but there may also be opportunities for UK or overseas fieldwork. Highly motivated candidates with a background in marine science, oceanography or environmental science (or related disciplines) are encouraged to apply.

CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS:  23h59min on Tuesday 9th January 2019

Funding Notes

This is a 3.5 year fully-funded studentship part of the NERC Doctoral Training Partnership in Adapting to the Challenges of a Changing Environment (ACCE). The studentship covers: (i) a tax-free stipend at the standard Research Council rate (around £15,000 per year), (ii) tuition fees at UK/EU rate, (iii) research consumables and training necessary for the project. 

Entry requirements: At least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent in any relevant subject that provides the necessary skills, knowledge and experience for the DTP, including environmental, biological, chemical, mathematical, physical and social sciences. 

Other information

Shortlisting: Applicants will be notified if they have been selected for interview in the week commencing on Monday 28 January 2019.

Interviews: Shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview to take place in the Department of Biology at the University of York in the week beginning 11 February 2019 (or the following week). As part of the interview process candidates will be asked to give a 5 minute presentation on a research project carried out by them.

 

More information and applications details are available on https://www.york.ac.uk/environment/postgraduate/nercdtp/

 

 

Understanding the multiple roles of culture in valuing ecosystems and their services (PhD in Environmental Geography)

Understanding the multiple roles of culture in valuing ecosystems and their services (PhD in Environmental Geography)

Lead supervisor: Dr Jasper Kenter, Department of Environment and Geography, University of York

Co-supervisors: Dr Juliette Young (CEH)

To discuss your suitability for this project please email: jasper.kenter@york.ac.uk

The ecosystem services framework is an environmental management approach that identifies four groups of services provided by ecosystems: supporting services, provisioning service, regulating services and cultural services. In the framework, culture is considered through the category of cultural services that encompasses the non-material benefits obtained from ecosystems. Recently, there have been calls for the broader consideration of culture as a driver of change and as a medium for all ecosystem services. The relationship between people and nature is complex and relational and this project will focus on the influence that culture has on human behaviour and values, how it works as a driver of change and what this implies for ecosystem services. This is an interdisciplinary social-ecological project that will harness both existing scientific data on key marine and coastal ecosystem services like fisheries, biodiversity, blue carbon and tourism and undertake mixed method fieldwork to understand and operationalise a conceptual chain reflecting the multiple roles of culture in assessing, valuing and managing these services. It will draw on understanding from different academic disciplines such as ecology, ecological economics, cultural studies, social psychology and environmental policy and planning where appropriate. The research will be a comparative study conducted in two case regions, Scotland and Malta, with different cultures, environments, environmental pressures and needs. The ideal candidate will have an interdisciplinary background with exposure to natural and social sciences and/or the arts and humanities and will be able to connect and work effectively and independently with diverse cultural contexts and stakeholders.


CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS:
  23h59min on Tuesday 9th January 2019 

Funding Notes

This is a 3.5 year fully-funded studentship part of the NERC Doctoral Training Partnership in Adapting to the Challenges of a Changing Environment (ACCE). The studentship covers: (i) a tax-free stipend at the standard Research Council rate (around £15,000 per year), (ii) tuition fees at UK/EU rate, (iii) research consumables and training necessary for the project. 

Entry requirements: At least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent in any relevant subject that provides the necessary skills, knowledge and experience for the DTP, including environmental, biological, chemical, mathematical, physical and social sciences. 

Other information

Shortlisting: Applicants will be notified if they have been selected for interview in the week commencing on Monday 28 January 2019.

Interviews: Shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview to take place in the Department of Biology at the University of York in the week beginning 11 February 2019 (or the following week). As part of the interview process candidates will be asked to give a 5 minute presentation on a research project carried out by them.

More information and applications details are available on https://www.york.ac.uk/environment/postgraduate/nercdtp/

 

 

Managing peatland natural capital in the Falkland Islands (PhD in Environmental Geography)

Managing peatland natural capital in the Falkland Islands (PhD in Environmental Geography)

Lead supervisor: Dr Richard Payne, Department of Environment and Geography, University of York

Co-supervisors: Prof. Chris Evans (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology), Dr Ilaria Marengo (South Atlantic Environmental Research Institute), Dr Dmitri Mauquoy (University of Aberdeen).

To discuss your suitability for this project please email: richard.payne@york.ac.uk

The Falkland Islands are a place of remarkable natural beauty with craggy mountains, windswept moorlands and a dramatic coastline with penguin and sea-lion colonies. The Falklands are the UK’s largest (non-Antarctic) Overseas Territory, but have often been overlooked by UK scientists. We are belatedly realising that a large proportion of the UK’s biodiversity is contained within the Overseas Territories, and that they could have a valuable role in mitigating global climate change.

The focus of this project is the peatlands of the Falkland Islands, which cover around half of the land area, hold the vast majority of biosphere carbon, and are a crucial part of the Islands’ ecosystem. We currently know remarkably little about Falklands peatlands: we don’t know how extensive they are, how much carbon they store, or whether they are still actively sequestering carbon. A particularly important gap is that we don’t know how these peatlands are affected by human activity. Many peatlands are used for sheep grazing, some are burnt to promote plant growth, areas have been cut for fuel, and many are eroding. If we can work out how best to manage these peatlands we can keep that carbon safely in the ground. This project is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the right student to spend time in the Falklands and help answer many of these questions. The project is a four-way collaboration between the Universities of York and Aberdeen, the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (in Bangor, Wales), and the South Atlantic Environmental Research Institute (SAERI). SAERI is the Falkland Islands’ only academic institution and home to a small but growing community of researchers. The student will be based in York but will also spend considerable time in the Falklands, based at SAERI.

This is a special project and we are looking for a special student. You need to be academically excellent with a strong undergraduate and master’s degree in an environmental subject. However, beyond the solely academic skills we are looking for somebody who is prepared for the challenges of conducting fieldwork in a spectacular but demanding environment, working independently, and living and working in a small community. For the right student this is the opportunity to help answer globally-important research questions while spending time working and studying in a remarkable place which few people get to visit. Interested students are strongly encouraged to contact the first supervisor to discuss the project prior to applying.

 CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS:  23h59min on Tuesday 9th January 2019

 Funding Notes

 This is a 3.5 year fully-funded studentship part of the NERC Doctoral Training Partnership in Adapting to the Challenges of a Changing Environment (ACCE). The studentship covers: (i) a tax-free stipend at the standard Research Council rate (around £15,000 per year), (ii) tuition fees at UK/EU rate, (iii) research consumables and training necessary for the project. 

Entry requirements: At least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent in any relevant subject that provides the necessary skills, knowledge and experience for the DTP, including environmental, biological, chemical, mathematical, physical and social sciences. 

Other information

Shortlisting: Applicants will be notified if they have been selected for interview in the week commencing on Monday 28 January 2019.

Interviews: Shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview to take place in the Department of Biology at the University of York in the week beginning 11 February 2019 (or the following week). As part of the interview process candidates will be asked to give a 5 minute presentation on a research project carried out by them.

More information and applications details are available on https://www.york.ac.uk/environment/postgraduate/nercdtp/

 

 

 

Antibiotics in agriculture - Assessing the impacts of wastewater irrigation on soil health, antimicrobial resistance and crop production (PhD in Environmental Science)

Antibiotics in agriculture - Assessing the impacts of wastewater irrigation on soil health, antimicrobial resistance and crop production (PhD in Environmental Science)

Lead supervisor: Dr Sylvia Toet, Department of Environment and Geography, University of York

Co-supervisors: Prof. Alistair Boxall (University of York), Dr Andrew Singer (CEH)

To discuss your suitability for this project please email: sylvia.toet@york.ac.uk

Why is this project important?

Large amounts of antibiotics are used globally for human and animal treatment. These substances are released to agricultural soils directly through animal excreta, via manure or sewage sludge when applied as fertiliser, and by irrigation of wastewater. Their presence in agricultural soils have been shown to affect microbial communities, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in soils, soil function and crop production. However, this evidence base is largely limited to a small proportion of the antibiotics used in human and veterinary medicine. Moreover, wastewater irrigation may result in long-term antibiotic exposure, which is likely to further increase in future due to increased summer droughts.

This project aims to assess the implications of long-term exposure of agricultural soils to a wide range of antibiotics (single and in mixtures) resulting from irrigation with treated wastewater for 1) soil processes including greenhouse gas emissions, the underpinning microbial communities, and soil chemistry, 2) crop development, yield and quality, and 3) AMR.

What’s in it for you?

This interdisciplinary project will involve field and lab-based experiments using state-of-the-art techniques and approaches to unravel the effects of the unintended impacts of antibiotics introduced to agricultural soils by irrigation with treated wastewater on soil microbial communities, soil function, AMR and crop yields.

You will be part of an experienced, dynamic and complementary research team at the University of York and the Centre of Ecology and Hydrology (Wallingford), who are at the forefront of research on the fate and effects of antibiotics in ecosystems, AMR, microbial ecology, and greenhouse gas flux research.

This studentship will provide you with excellent training and guidance in experimental design, field and lab experiments, microbial approaches, greenhouse gas flux measurements, soil and plant analyses, and dissemination of your experimental results during meetings and conferences.

CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS:  23h59min on Tuesday 9th January 2019 

Funding Notes

This is a 3.5 year fully-funded studentship part of the NERC Doctoral Training Partnership in Adapting to the Challenges of a Changing Environment (ACCE). The studentship covers: (i) a tax-free stipend at the standard Research Council rate (around £15,000 per year), (ii) tuition fees at UK/EU rate, (iii) research consumables and training necessary for the project. 

Entry requirements: At least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent in any relevant subject that provides the necessary skills, knowledge and experience for the DTP, including environmental, biological, chemical, mathematical, physical and social sciences. 

Other information

Shortlisting: Applicants will be notified if they have been selected for interview in the week commencing on Monday 28 January 2019.

Interviews: Shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview to take place in the Department of Biology at the University of York in the week beginning 11 February 2019 (or the following week). As part of the interview process candidates will be asked to give a 5 minute presentation on a research project carried out by them.

More information and applications details are available on https://www.york.ac.uk/environment/postgraduate/nercdtp/