Dr James Clark (Plymouth Marine Laboratory)
Dr Trevor Tolhurst (School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia)
The impact of marine plastic pollution on UK society, economy and environment is poorly understood but likely to be substantial. Extensive research is underway into the sources, distribution and impacts of plastic, but the transference of this research into meaningful governance recommendations remains sporadic. To address this issue this studentship will draw on the wealth of current research, and collaborating with natural and social scientists at PML, UEA, CEFAS, and Defra, will innovate and evaluate a range of intervention strategies to reduce marine plastic pollution.
This PhD will be primarily based at PML, but with research stays as required at UEA, CEFAS(CCSUS) and Defra. The research is focused around 3 objectives:
i. Review existing policy interventions in the UK and internationally, including an assessment of barriers to, and the social and economic implications of, their implementation;
ii. Quantify sources, types and amounts of plastic in UK waters using both data collection and modelling;
iii. Systematically assess the effectiveness of different interventions to reduce marine plastic pollution, utilising modelling, interview and survey techniques.
The research will directly inform Defra’s 25 year plan, and contribute to future policies and management plans.
This PhD includes training in interdisciplinary research, ecological modelling, scientific data analysis, survey design and stakeholder engagement. The candidate will receive scientific writing mentoring to lead their own publications. They will be supported to present their work at national and international conferences. The candidate will be embedded in the PML community, ensuring regular contact with modellers, remote sensing scientists, marine ecologists, social scientists, biogeochemists in addition to the PML communications and impact teams. PML is certified to ISO9001 and ISO45001, and the candidate will receive training in health and safety processes and in mental health awareness.
This studentship will be based at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory, and registered at the University of East Anglia.
The project will suit an exceptional, highly motivated candidate with a background and skills in environmental science coupled with an interest in governance, or alternatively with a social or political science background with an interest in environment.