How will Oceanic Nitrous Oxide Emissions Respond to Global Change? (SUNTHARALINGAM_UENV18EE)

University of East Anglia
October 13 2017
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

Background and objectives

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a major greenhouse gas and a leading agent of stratospheric ozone depletion. The ocean provides about a third of the total natural source to the atmosphere. N2O is produced in marine environments primarily by microbially governed nitrification and denitrification processes during the cycling of organic matter. These processes, and the net N2O flux from the oceans, are sensitive to a range of environmental “stressors” associated with anthropogenic impacts on the ocean (e.g. ocean acidification, warming, ocean deoxygenation). The response of the ocean's nitrogen cycling processes to these stressors is currently poorly represented in the ocean models and Earth System Models (ESMS) that assess greenhouse gas changes and associated climate-feedbacks.

In this project you will bring together recent oceanic and laboratory measurements identifying the influence of changing ocean acidity and oxygen levels on N2O cycle processes, and use these to improve an ocean biogeochemistry model (NEMO-PlankTOM). Specifically, you will extend the current model to account for the influence of changing ocean acidity and oxygen levels on N2O. The overarching objective is to quantify, using model analyses, how changes in these environmental stressors, will change future oceanic N2O emissions to the atmosphere.


This is a collaborative project between UEA and Plymouth Marine Laboratory. At UEA you will work in Dr Suntharalingam's biogeochemical cycles modelling group, and at PML in Dr Rees' ocean measurement group, thus gaining experience in two key areas of oceanographic science. You will receive training in ocean circulation and biogeochemistry, numerical methods, ocean measurements and associated data analyses. Depending on your interests, the project could also include participation in research cruises. You will acquire skills in science communication, project management and collaborative research, and will be involved in a project of critical interest to oceanography and climate research communities.

Secondary supervisors: Dr Andrew Rees (Plymouth Marine Laboratory), Dr Erik Buitenhuis (UEA).

Person specification

This project is suited for a candidate with a background in natural sciences, engineering or mathematics, with good numerical skills and interests in ocean biogeochemistry and global change.


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

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