Prospective Students and Postdoctoral Researchers

We are always keen to recruit dynamic and scientifically motivated researchers to the lab. We often have positions advertised on this page but if you have your own ideas please do get in touch at any time and I would be happy to discuss options with you for joining the group.

Currently available positions in the lab

There is one new exciting PhD opportunity available within the group.

PhD opportunities

1. Multi-proxy coral bleaching reconstruction

Supervisors: Dr Nick Kamenos (U of Glasgow), Dr John MacDonald (U of Glasgow), Dr Heidi Burdett (Heriot-Watt University), Dr Dan Exton (Operation Wallacea), Dr Sebastian Hennige (U of Edinburgh), Prof Gavin Foster (U of Southampton)

The ecosystem services provided by coral reefs are worth over $100 billion annually and include coast line protection, tourism, food and medical derivatives. However, the health of the constituent corals can be significantly impacted by coral bleaching. Coral bleaching (Fig. 1) is the loss of symbiotic zooxanthellae (Symbiodiniaceae) from tropical corals and can be caused by stressors such as thermal perturbations, disease and freshwater runoff. Thermal perturbations are thought to be the most significant bleaching trigger and have been well documented in conjunction with major global bleaching events in 1998, 2002 & 2016. These mass bleaching events caused widespread coral death with catastrophic ecosystem and service provision impacts. The importance of temperature is such that bleaching can now be forecast over a few days – weeks. However, sub-lethal bleaching, where the coral bleaches but recovers, may act as a ‘safety valve’ allowing coral hosts to survive periods of thermal stress in warmer waters. Additionally, other corals and their symbionts are robust to warming-induced bleaching.

 

Despite the devastation caused by severe coral bleaching, it is still not possible to accurately assess if corals will survive in the warmer oceans projected for the end of the century as we do not understand the interaction between differential drivers of coral bleaching.

 

Aim: The proposed research aims to reconstruct past coral bleaching using a multi-proxy approach. The record can also be used to assess past frequency and prevalence of coral bleaching and assess whether they are increasing over time. Importantly, it will allow modern observational records of bleaching to be placed into a longer temporal context and to better evaluate the relevance of current bleaching trajectories.

Methodology:

The scholar will have the opportunity to collect coral cores from Caribbean coral colonies. The proposed research will use multiple proxies of coral bleaching sampled in parallel down. The proposed proxies to be used in this multi-proxy approach are coral linear extension rate, skeletal density, boron isotopes, N stable isotopes and clumped isotopes.

Laboratory work will be conducted at the Universities of Glasgow Edinburgh, Southampton, and the Lyell Centre. These data will allow the scholar to generate a multiproxy reconstruction of coral bleaching, placing recent trends of coral bleaching into an environmentally relevant context.

Deadline:

Open deadline

Application procedure:  

Please contact Nick for futher details

© 2021 by Nick Kamenos