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PhD Studentship: Assessing the Impact of Pollution Management on Freshwater Biodiversity

Bournemouth University - Faculty of Science and Technology

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Bournemouth
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: £18,622 maintenance grant per annum
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 31st May 2024
Closes: 30th June 2024

Lead Supervisor name: Dr Matthew Hill

Project description

Freshwater habitats comprise a small proportion of the world land surface area (2.3%), but support over 10% of global biodiversity [1]. However, freshwater biodiversity has significantly declined in recent decades, recording greater species losses than terrestrial and marine environments [1].

This is principally driven by the unsustainable use of freshwater by people (e.g., for waste removal, industrial and domestic uses, and modern agriculture) [2]. In particular, habitat degradation (such as pollution) is a long term and pervasive issue that has underpinned reduced ecosystem functioning and freshwater biodiversity losses globally [3]. Pollution events can be ubiquitous (e.g., eutrophication) or can be unique to a particular location, reflecting the composition of contaminants (including traditional and emerging pollutants) and the origin of the pollutants [4].

The consequences can be lethal or sub lethal, and their interactions with other pressures can result in unexpected consequences [4]. In the UK, the release of raw sewage and stormwater into rivers has been extensive in recent years, with combined sewer overflow (CSO) discharge events totalling 372,000 in 2021 [5]. This, combined with other stressors (fine sediment increases, habitat modification) have resulted in declines in water quality, and impacted faunal and floral communities in UK rivers [8].

This PhD aims to quantify ecological (macrophyte, macroinvertebrate and fish) and functional (decomposition) responses to reduction in CSOs and other stressors across three major river networks in the New Forest, incorporating both the main channel and adjacent floodplain habitats. By examining the impact of water quality improvement across a freshwater landscape, incorporating ecological and functional components, a more holistic catchment-wide assessment of ecosystem health can be obtained.  

What does the funded studentship include?

A fully-funded Studentship includes a maintenance grant of £18,622 per year to contribute towards living expenses during the course of your research, as well as a fee waiver for 36 months. Associated costs, such as for fieldwork and conference attendance, will also be met under the Studentship.

Eligibility criteria

The BU PhD and MRes Studentships are open to UK, EU and International students. Candidates for a PhD Studentship should demonstrate outstanding qualities and be motivated to complete a PhD in 4 years and must demonstrate:

  • Outstanding academic potential as measured normally by either a 1st class honours degree (or equivalent Grade Point Average (GPA) or a Master’s degree with distinction or equivalent
  • An IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 minimum (with a minimum 6.0 in each component, or equivalent) for candidates for whom English is not their first language and this must be evidenced at point of application.

Additional Eligibility:

In addition to satisfying minimum entry criteria, BU will look closely at the qualities, skills and background of each candidate and what they can bring to their chosen research project in order to ensure successful completion.

For further information on how to apply click the ‘Apply’ button below or email pgradmissions@bournemouth.ac.uk.

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