The role of sea ice in the Southern Ocean carbon sink using novel biogeochemical sensors (BAKKER_...

University of East Anglia
October 10 2017
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

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:

• To quantify ocean CO2 uptake during the pre-conditioning and formation of Antarctic Bottom Water

• 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.

Secondary supervisors:

1. Dr Martin Johnson (UEA)

2. Dr Bastien Queste (UEA)

3. Dr Hugh Venables (British Antarctic Survey)

4. Dr Mario Hoppema (Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research)

5. Dr Giorgio Dall'Olmo (Plymouth Marine Laboratory)


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 on 12/13 February 2018.

Successful candidates who meet RCUK's eligibility criteria will be awarded a NERC studentship - in 2017/18, the stipend is £14,553. 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 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.

EnvEast welcomes applicants from quantitative disciplines who may have limited background in environmental sciences. Excellent candidates will be considered for an award of an additional 3-month stipend to take appropriate advanced-level courses in the subject area.

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