PhD studentship in sea-level studies

Lunedì, 2 Dicembre 2013
Deadline Jan. 24, 2014.

PhD studentship in sea-level studies

Using Holocene sea-level data to improve sea-level predictions for the United Kingdom: a combined empirical and model-based approach

Supervisor: Professor Roland Gehrels (Environment, University of York)

Co-supervisors: Dr Laurence Jones, Dr Chris Evans (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology)

This PhD project is part of the NERC funded Doctoral Training Partnership “ACCE” (Adapting to the Challenges of a Changing Environment).  This is a partnership between the Universities of York, Sheffield and Liverpool, and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Project description

By quantifying  relationships between tide levels, groundwater and peat formation, it can be demonstrated that freshwater coastal peatlands contain accurate archives of Holocene sea-level change. This project exploits this novel methodology by establishing new Holocene sea-level records in Wales that will improve sea-level projections for all of the UK.

Objectives of this project are to:

1.      establish the stratigraphy of coastal peatlands in Pembrokeshire and Anglesey.

2.      establish a 2 year monitoring programme using Waterra-In-Situ dataloggers to measure tidal amplitudes in the peatlands and on the open coast.

3.      develop a hydrological model that accurately simulates the groundwater movements in the systems.

4.      radiocarbon-date basal peat samples, establish their relationship to sea level using results from 1, 2 and 3, and construct new Holocene sea-level records for Pembrokeshire and Anglesey.

5.      improve existing models of glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) using the new datasets in order to increase the reliability of future UK sea-level predictions.

This project will for the first time use small freshwater coastal peatlands for the reconstruction of sea-level changes. It will facilitate sea-level studies from around the world in settings hitherto not thought possible, thereby increasing our capability to add to our understanding of Holocene sea-level patterns worldwide. Current sea-level predictions by UKCIP (Defra) are based on a GIA model that may not correctly simulate the sea-level history of Wales and is therefore potentially flawed. New sea-level data are urgently needed to test competing hypotheses on patterns of Holocene sea-level changes in this key region.

CASE support will be provided by Waterra-In-Situ, an international company that specializes in the design and manufacture of water-monitoring equipment.


To apply for funding for a PhD, applicants must be a graduate of a recognised university with a 2:1 (with honours) degree, or a 2:2 and a Master's qualification. Full awards (fees plus maintenance stipend) are open to UK Nationals, and EU students who can satisfy UK residency requirements. To be eligible for the full award, UK and EU Nationals must have been in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the course for which they are seeking funding, including for the purposes of full-time education. EU Nationals who do not meet the above residency requirement are eligible for a fees-only award, provided that they have been ordinarily resident in the EU for at least 3 years prior to the start of the course.

How to apply

For informal discussion please contact the main supervisor ( Application deadline is 20 January 2014. Further details on how to apply for this studentship can be found here