Dr Manuela Truebano, University of Plymouth – Contact me
Dr Oliver Tills, University of Plymouth, School of Biological and Marine Sciences
Dr Hannah Wood, Natural England
Dr Enrico Rezende, Pontifical Catholic University of Chile
Dr Fernando Lima CIBIO-InBIO, Universidade do Porto (CIBIO)
Heat waves are increasing in frequency and intensity, causing devastating effects on marine biodiversity. To protect the environment for future generations, we must be able to predict which areas are at most risk from this increasingly pressing environmental challenge. Using broad-scale surface temperature data, recent modelling approaches have identified broad regions across global oceans that are at greatest risk, but these approaches do not capture the small spatial scales over which climatic events impact marine animals through their physiology. Moreover, they do not work at the local and regional scales at which management decisions are made, limiting our ability to conserve coastal ecosystems.
This timely project integrates high-resolution in situ temperature data, a state-of-the-art physiological model that assesses individual-level sensitivity, and technology-led measurements of sensitivity in the field, to develop a novel approach to assessing site-specific sensitivity to heat waves in intertidal environments with unprecedented spatial resolution. In partnership with Natural England, it will also explore how outputs can be integrated into marine conservation advice.
You will perform laboratory measurements of physiological tolerance in intertidal animals. A network of temperature loggers in the Southwest of the UK will provide high-resolution temperature data to simulate future heat waves at local scales. You will combine physiological and temperature data with a novel physiological model to predict mortality of intertidal animals during heat waves at different locations, and use this to assess site-specific vulnerability. Finally, you will explore how vulnerability assessment can inform conservation management plans.
You will join an established, multi-disciplinary team and receive training to develop expertise in:
– Marine ecophysiology, animal husbandry.
– Analysis of high-resolution temperature data and forecasting.
– Automated technologies, autonomous data loggers, and AI.
– Physiological modelling.
– Policy. You will carry out a 3-month internship at NE to learn what is needed to convert your research outputs into policy.
– Data analysis, critical thinking, scientific writing.
BSc degree in biology or related field. An interest in animal physiology and climate change, and strong quantitative analysis skills are essential.