Dr Richard Cooper, University of East Anglia, School of Environmental Sciences
Dr Carolyn Graves, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas)
Dr Yi He, University of East Anglia, School of Environmental Sciences
Pollutants dissolved in rivers and discharged into estuaries from sewage and industry harm the marine environment. In the UK, inputs of nutrients, heavy metals and other contaminants have been monitored since 1990 to support national and international marine ecosystem assessments [1,2]. Informed policymaking to improve coastal water quality, particularly in the context of a changing climate baseline, requires an improved process-focused understanding of current and historical pollution inputs.
To elucidate the past, present and future impacts of riverine inputs of pollutants on the UK’s coastal waters and the ecosystem services they provide in order to inform future policy decisions.
(1) What are the pollution inputs from unmonitored areas and what is their impact compared to reported discharges?
(2) Which chemical pollutant inputs are the most important to monitor when and where for understanding different aspects of coastal ecosystem health?
(3) How should the input monitoring programme be future-proofed for a changing climate baseline?
Research Methodology & Training
You will sit at the interface between terrestrial and marine science, applying an integrated cross-disciplinary catchment-to-coast approach. You will use historical data as a tool to design strategic and focused new sample collection which will allow you to develop and test specific hypotheses on impacts. You will integrate new and legacy data from different sources into catchment and climate models, applying a range of analytical and statistical approaches to interrogate temporal and spatial relationships.
You will gain skills in
- Environmental data analysis,
- Riverine and estuarine sampling and biogeochemical analysis
- Environmental assessment and advice, through engagement with national and international marine assessment expert advisory bodies.
You will work alongside catchment and climate scientists in UEA’s Water Security Research Centre and Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research as well as marine scientists at CASE partner Cefas through the Collaborative Centre for Sustainable Use of the Seas.
Suitable candidates will have a degree in environmental sciences or a related subject, an interest in catchment and marine science and policy, and a passion for data-driven problem solving alongside field and laboratory work.