PhD: Optimising blue carbon storage in estuaries using rewilding and eco-engineering approaches via FindAPhD

University of Hull

Hull, UK 🇬🇧

About the Project

Applications are invited for a 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.

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.

For informal enquiries, please contact Dr Rob Thomas [email protected]

For more information, watch a recording here of a webinar held in December 2021. You’ll hear from programme leaders, supervisors and students talking about the funded opportunities available.

About the research cluster

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.

Submission of thesis

Submission of your final thesis is expected within three years and three months from the start of your PhD scholarship for full time and within five years and six months if studying part-time.

If you need to move into a fourth year (full time) or sixth year (part-time) to complete your thesis, please note that you will not receive a tuition fee waiver or maintenance grant during this period. 

Eligibility, entry requirements and how to apply

To find out more about the eligibility criteria, entry requirements and how to apply, please visit the University of Hull PhD scholarships webpage.

International applicants

This opportunity comes with a home fee waiver only.

Closing date for applications

17.00 on Friday 7th January 2022.


Funding Notes

The successful applicant will receive a fee waiver and a maintenance grant / stipend for three years (full-time) or five years (part-time), which covers the research period of the PhD. The fee waiver for 21/22 is £4500 (Home fee) and the maintenance grant is £15609. This rises each year in line with the UKRI’s recommended stipend allowance.


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