NERC ONE Planet DTP PhD Studentship: “Organic Carbon Sequestration on the Arctic Seafloor along a Changing Sea-Ice Gradient”

ONE Planet DTP PhD studentship based at Newcastle University on “Organic Carbon Sequestration on the Arctic Seafloor along a Changing Sea-Ice Gradient”, supervised by Geoffrey Abbott and Mark Stevenson.

Key Research Gaps and Questions

Is sea ice retreat affecting ocean biological communities and can these changes be detected in ocean sediments in the Arctic?

Are changes in the organic carbon delivered to the ocean seafloor in the Barents Sea leading to reductions or increases in carbon storage?

Are changes in the lability of organic matter at the ocean seafloor regionally or globally significant and will this help offset CO2 emissions in the anthropocene?

Project description

This research will explore changes in the organic carbon delivered to the ocean seafloor in the Barents Sea and will identify if these changes are leading to reductions or increases in carbon storage. This has global implications as the climate-ocean seafloor feedback has the potential to exacerbate, or moderate climate warming. These changes are also biologically relevant, as changes in seasonal ice dynamics affect light penetration and ocean circulation, changing the composition and abundance of species, affecting the quality and quantity of carbon ultimately deposited.

The successful student will combine the geochemical analyses of sediment cores along changing sea-ice gradients in the Barents Sea, with the chemical analyses of the seafloor from both trawls and ongoing manipulative laboratory experimentation. This will help to better constrain and quantify the origin and subsequent transformation of carbon at the seafloor and its burial in the sedimentary record.

Facilities available include Py-GC-MS, GC-MS, LC-MS, GC-IRMS, bulk CHNS-O analysis and vis-NIR spectroscopy. Access to sediment cores taken on board the NERC Changing Arctic Ocean cruises between 2017 and 2019 will be provided as well as benthic specimens from the ocean seafloor.

This project is linked to the ChAOS project of the NERC Changing Arctic Ocean programme which includes collaborators at Leeds, Durham, Southampton and Edinburgh universities as well as the research institutes Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the British Antarctic Survey.

Prerequisites

Full laboratory and analytical training will be provided. However, candidates with experience in geochemical methods and carbon cycling are desirable. An understanding of climate change and carbon cycling issues in the Anthropocene would be advantageous.

Supervisors

Dr Geoffrey Abbott and Dr Mark Stevenson (ChAOS).

For more information, please contact Geoffrey D. Abbott (geoff.abbott@ncl.ac.uk).

Deadline: 31 January 2019