Deadline: 2016-01-25
Value of Scholarship: Loughborough
Level Of Study: PhD

PhD Studentship – Aquatic ecosystem response to changing ice margin dynamics of the Greenland Ice sheet

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship funded by the NERC CENTA Doctoral Training Partnership to start in October 2016. The project will be based in the Department of Geography at Loughborough University.

The Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) is changing rapidly; change that is particularly pronounced in western Greenland where air temperatures have increased rapidly since ~2000 AD. Seasonal meltwater fluxes are increasing dramatically and there is substantial thinning and recession of the outlet glaciers. The increased meltwater is also depositing more material on the sandurs (glacial outwash plains) which supports an active aeolian geomorphic system. Although the strong environmental and climate gradients of ice sheet margins have been recognized for some time, it is only recently that the cross system linkages of the Greenland paraglacial system have become apparent, notably linkages between microbial activity on the GrIS, transfer of nutrients by dust and terrestrial ecosystem responses. Glaciers produce and export large amounts of organic material, which includes nutrients important for plant growth (N, P). Some of this material is transferred by a linked glacio-fluvial and aeolian system to the surrounding terrestrial and aquatic systems, including lakes.

Our recent work has focussed on the ice marginal lakes near Kangerlussuaq area of SW Greenland where there is a strong effect of local dust input, due to deflation from the nearby sandurs as well as changing lake thermal stratification conditions due to rapid regional warming. The dust effect means that it is difficult to identify the effects of warming per se on lakes (i.e. that due to altered thermal budgets: shorter ice cover and stronger stratification). The aim of this project, therefore, is to determine the effect of warming on arctic lakes in the absence of any nutrient fertilization affects associated with regional dust deposition by studying ice marginal lakes in areas with no or minimal regional dust inputs.

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The studentship is for 3.5 years and is intended to start in October 2016. The studentship provides a tax free stipend of £14,057 per annum (current rate) for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate and a research training support grant of £8,000.  Please note that due to restrictions imposed by the funder only students with a UK/EU fee status will be considered for this position.

Students will normally need to hold, or expect to gain, at least a 2:1 degree (or equivalent) in Geography, Earth Science, Ecology or Environmental Science.  A Master’s degree and/or experience in a related area associated with the research will be an advantage.

General information about the Department of Geography can be found here  and more information about the project and CENTA can be found here. For informal enquiries about the project, please contact Professor John Anderson (

To apply:

  1. Complete a CENTA studentship application form in Word format, and then
  2. Complete the online application using the following link: During the online application process, upload the CENTA application form as a supporting document.

The closing date for applications is 25 January  2016
Interviews will take place in the week commencing 15 February 2016

Please quote CENTA-JA when completing your online application

Apply Now

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