About this project
Applications are invited for a fully funded PhD studentship studying blue carbon storage in estuaries using rewilding and eco-engineering approaches, as part of the University of Hull’s REWILD Research cluster (see “About the research cluster” below for more details of the cluster).
Estuary management and managed realignment on the Humber acts as both flood defence and, initially at least, creates mud flat habitat to compensate for losses to development elsewhere. However, previous studies indicate that sedimentation rates in the middle and inner Humber limit the timescale over which realignment is an effective flood defence and accelerate the transition from mud flat to high salt marsh. However, a number of managed realignment sites are now planned by the Environment Agency for the outer estuary, where the sedimentation regime is very different. The establishment of these new sites provides a novel opportunity to study sedimentation rates and carbon capture as salt marsh establishes and proliferates. This project therefore aims to investigate carbon capture by salt marsh assemblages in the past and present at existing and planned realignment sites in the Humber. Cores will explore long-term storage and Northumbria’s ground-breaking LGR Ultraportable Greenhouse Gas Analyzer that reports simultaneous measurements of methane, carbon dioxide and water vapour will be used to explore if the rate of carbon capture is dependent upon salt marsh species and other hydraulic and chemical drivers (e.g. wave-current action, salinity).
You will be part of a collaborative, multidisciplinary and nurturing environment to help realise your potential, and will be provided with excellent opportunities for external networking. We will hold regular monthly meetings with the entire cluster, with opportunities to present and discuss research, invite internal and external speakers and collaborators and foster networking.
For informal enquiries, please contact Dr Rob Thomas.
About the REWILD research cluster
REWILD: understanding ecological, environmental and societal costs and benefits of rewilding.
We are experiencing a global climate and biodiversity crisis. Closer to home, more than half of UK species are in decline and a further 15% threatened with extinction. Rewilding - the large-scale restoration of ecosystems by allowing reinstatement of natural processes and missing species - is seen as one potential solution for the protection and recovery of ecosystems. The rewilding of terrestrial, freshwater and marine habitats can make a critical contribution to carbon sequestration, flood mitigation, water quality, biodiversity, and human wellbeing. However rewilding can also be highly controversial, with conflicts arising because of competing interests of different stakeholder groups. The REWILD research cluster at the University of Hull is a multidisciplinary team of researchers across biology, environmental science, psychology and systems thinking, working with diverse stakeholders to collectively understand the ecological, environmental and societal costs and benefits of rewilding. Our 6 PhD studentships focus on understanding i) the impacts of rewilding projects on biodiversity, sedimentation rates and carbon sequestration dynamics, ii) the community benefits of blue spaces, and the perceptions, values and challenges of rewilding the sea, and iii) how animal “personalities” drive public perceptions of species reintroductions.
Click here to watch a recording of our recent webinar about this funded postgraduate research opportunity. You'll hear from programme leaders, supervisors, and students and listen to queries from other applicants in the Q&A.
Other PhDs in this cluster
Uncovering the Biodiversity Impacts of Rewilding on Entire Ecological Communities at a Landscape Scape Using Environmental DNA
Greening Blue Spaces in Hull
Understanding Environmental Adaptability in Wild Mammalian Carnivores: a Multidisciplinary Perspective
Effective Biodiversity Monitoring of River Rewilding Projects Using eDNA Modelling
Rewilding the Sea: Perceptions, Values and Challenges