Prof Corinne Le Quéré (University of Easy Anglia, School of Environmental Sciences) – contact me
Dr Marie-Fanny Racault, School of Environmental Sciences
Dr Fabien Lombard, Laboratoire d’océanographie de Villefranche-sur-mer
Marine ecosystems play a key role in regulating the Earth’s climate. Marine ecosystems live largely at the ocean’s surface. Their activities generate a flux of carbon between the ocean surface and the deep ocean that is as large as the fossil CO2 emissions, and maintains atmospheric CO2 concentrations in the long-term about 200 ppm lower than it would be otherwise. Most organic material in the ocean ends up being grazed by zooplankton. The depth at which zooplankton excrete their faecal pellets is fundamental for regulating the return time of this carbon to the surface, where it can exchange again with the atmosphere (Boyd et al. 2019). Recent technological advances in imaging have revolutionised our understanding of the vertical structure of organic particles in the ocean, and enable the representation of more complex ecological processes in global carbon cycle models (Lombard et al 2019).
This PhD project aims to examine the role of zooplankton vertical migration for the oceanic carbon cycle, and explore how it may change in the future under a warming climate. The PhD candidate will introduce vertical migration in a model that currently represents five types of zooplankton (Wright etal 2021; Buitenhuis et al 2019; Le Quéré et al. 2016), and examine the effect of the daily and seasonal vertical migrations by different types of zooplankton. The work will be guided by information derived from images collected with zooscan and with Underwater Video Profiler (UVP) instruments (Lombard etal 2019). Model developments will use machine-learning techniques to parameterise and evaluate the new processes.
The PhD candidate will be part of a dynamic research group and will contribute to the development of a cutting-edge model of the ocean carbon cycle used for understanding the Earth System. There will be opportunities to interact with an international group of experts, attend Greenocean workshops, and present at internationally-leading conferences. The successful candidate will gain (1) knowledge in climate change, marine ecosystem, and ocean biogeochemical modelling (2) computer programming, model optimisation techniques, data processing, and statistical analysis, and have a chance to access further (3) training opportunities provided by ARIES.
This project is particularly suited for candidates with first degrees in any sciences and an interest in marine ecosystems and climate change (including physics, computer sciences, mathematics, biology and earth and environmental sciences). Enthusiastic individuals with experience in computer-based analysis are encouraged to apply.
Applicants to this project must meet the School of Environmental Science’s [admissions requirements https://www.uea.ac.uk/about/university-information/governance/policies-and-regulations/general-regulations/requirements-for-postgraduate-research-degrees], and the [Faculty of Science’s English language requirements for postgraduate researchers https://www.uea.ac.uk/apply/our-admissions-policy/english-language-equivalencies].