From Farm to Coast: Fluxes and isotopic fingerprints of greenhouse gases in river catchments, est...

Plymouth Marine Laboratory
October 13 2017
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

Scientific background

Nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4) are potent greenhouse gases, which play a part in the depletion of stratospheric ozone and the oxidative capacity of the atmosphere. Despite this importance, the quantification of sources and sinks of these gases and their transport in rivers, inland waters, estuaries and coasts are poorly constrained.

Research methodology

This project will use state of the art instrumentation to determine concentrations and the stable isotopic signatures (15N, 13C) of N2O and CH4 in streams, rivers, estuaries and coastal waters in southwest England. A sense of adventure is required to deliver a sampling programme using small boats and larger research vessels, which will be embedded in the NERC research programme LOCATE ( You will determine seasonal and spatial variability in concentrations and fluxes between river catchment and coastal seas, and use stable isotopes to help elucidate the complex biological, chemical and physical transformations occurring, taking into account factors including nutrient loading, oxygen status and residence times.


You will receive specialist training in the measurement of stable isotopes 15N and 13C using continuous-flow stable isotope mass spectrometry and the use of gas chromatography and cavity ring down spectroscopy to determine gas concentrations. This will be coupled to broader training in the biogeochemistry of riverine, estuarine and coastal systems. You will also be trained in professional skills, including attendance at UK and international summer schools and conferences.

Research Environment

You will spent most of your time with Drs Rees and Kitidis in recently refurbished laboratories at PML, with easy access to the River Tamar and the English Channel, but will also work for shorter periods with co-supervisors Kaiser at UEA and Atkinson at partner Sercon. At all locations, you will be embedded in dynamic teams investigating marine biogeochemistry and related stable isotope applications.


We seek an enthusiastic, self-motivated candidate, with a strong aptitude for practical work and intensive field campaigns on small boats. You will have at least a 2.1 BSc in chemistry, physics, oceanography or a suitable branch of environmental sciences.


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.

For further information, please visit

This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess

Similar jobs

Similar jobs