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PhD Studentship: Carbon dynamics of the Pantanal, the World’s largest wetland


Location:  UK Other
Closing Date:  Friday 17 May 2024
Reference:  SCI261

Supervisor: Nicholas Girkin

Secondary Supervisor: Hannah Cooper

Subject Area: Environmental Science

Research Title: Carbon dynamics of the Pantanal, the World’s largest wetland

Research Description

"The Pantanal, Brazil, is the world’s largest wetland ecosystem and a significant carbon sink, and has been proposed a key potential nature-based solution to climate change. It features a range of vegetation types, from woodlands through to lakes, grasslands and pasture for livestock, and is a global biodiversity hotspot, as well as carbon. At the same time, evidence suggests that greenhouse gas emissions from tropical wetlands are increasing, driven by a combination of agricultural expansion and intensification, and climate change impacts. There is therefore a critical need to understand drivers of carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas dynamics, across land use and management regimes, and quantify the future resilience of stored carbon. In this project, you will work to address this challenge.
The overarching aim of this project is to produce new estimates of carbon storage in soils and vegetation across key ecosystem types, and management regimes in the Pantanal, quantify the potential scale of greenhouse gas dynamics, and identify controls over emissions.
You will integrate a range of ecological and biogeochemical techniques, working closely with a range of collaborators in Brazil (including the Federal University of Mato Grosso and Embrapa Pantanal) and the UK throughout the project, as well as presenting your research at UK and international conferences. You will have a unique opportunity to conduct and lead on-the-ground research in the Pantanal, a global hotspot for biodiversity and carbon storage.
You will also receive extensive training in a range of field and lab-based methodologies, as well as transferable skills in presenting, data analysis, and stakeholder engagement. You will be joining a growing and welcoming research group, with multiple opportunities for networking, collaboration, and professional development."

Award Start Date: 01/10/2024

Duration of Award: 36 months

Terms and Conditions

This fully-funded PhD consists of a stipend paid at UKRI rates (currently £18,622 pa), tuition fees, and up to £4,000 pa to cover research costs (e.g., travel for fieldwork and equipment). Owing to funding constraints for tuition fees, this opportunity is only available to UK home students.

Applicant Qualification Requirements

Applicants should have an interest in environmental and/or agricultural sciences, biology, ecology, conservation, or plant/soil sciences. They should hold, or be expected to obtain, a minimum of a UK Honours degree at 2:1 (or equivalent) in a relevant subject, and also meet the University’s requirements for English proficiency. Candidates with an additional qualification (i.e. Masters) will be looked on favourably. Experience of independent research, data analysis, and fieldwork are desirable.

How to Apply

A short cover letter explaining why you feel you are a suitable candidate (maximum 1 page), alongside a curriculum vitae should be emailed to, after which a formal application can be made via the University website.

Closing Date: 17/05/2024

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