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 are two new exciting PhD opportunities available within the group, both have international eligiblity (full eligibility details here) and are funded via the IAPETUS2 Doctoral Training Programme: 

PhD opportunities

1. Arctic carbon burial: human and climatic drivers of change (IAPETUS2 page here)

Supervisors: Dr Nick Kamenos (U of Glasgow),  Dr Heidi Burdett (The Lyell Centre),  Dr Thomas Juul-Pedersen (Greenland Institute of Natural Resources), Prof. Lawerence Hamilton (U of New Hampshipre), Dr Lydia Bach (U of Glasgow)

Nature-based solutions to mitigate climate change include the drawdown and burial of carbon by natural systems. In terrestrial systems this function can be performed by forests and such buried carbon is called green carbon. In the marine environment, these carbon sequestering and storing systems are termed blue carbon stores and there is evidence that at high latitudes significant quantities of blue carbon are stored in systems including algal deposits and sediments. That carbon can be the product of glacially induced primary production [via upwelling of deeper water nutrients], but also, carbon directly produced by marine macrophytes. Arctic coastlines in particular are inundated with fjords, however, there is a paucity of information on their contributions to carbon burial through changing climates and anthropogenic inputs. Understanding how these drivers of fjordic carbon sequestration influenced previous rates of carbon burial will be key to predicting how these carbon storage systems will react to future climate and land use changes.

Historic climate change has been shown to alter carbon burial and evidence is now emerging that in mid-latitude fjord systems, human interactions with their environment can alter carbon burial through changes in land use and its impact on organic material exported to the surrounding fjords. In this context Greenland is of particular importance; it is at risk of warming-driven glacial melt and also, Nuuk [the largest populated area] has shown substantial recent population increases which are projected to increase further as warming continues.  Together, projected warming and changing demography may change blue carbon burial in Greenlandic repositories over the coming century.


Aim: This project will quantify current and historic rates and mechanisms of carbon sequestration, burial and remineralisation at a range of Greenlandic fjord systems [including those generated by macrophytes, coralline algae and sediments] under representative climate and land use changes. These data will allow us to explore the future potential capacity of Greenland’s fjords to act as efficient carbon sinks in a changing climate and with increasing anthropogenic demands.

Methodology: The scholar will have the opportunity to conduct field work in Greenland and collect samples from fjords near Nuuk [including Nuup Kangerlua and Ameralik fjord] using small boat work and possibly SCUBA [not a prerequisite for application]. Samples will be short- and long- cores through coralline algal and sediment carbon repositories as well as surface macrophytes. Incubations will be conducted on collected functional habitats to quantify rates and pathways of carbon remineralisation including the use of isotope tracing.  Further, longer cores will be examined for historic changes in carbon burial driven by both past climate and demographic change.

2. Multi-proxy coral bleaching reconstruction (IAPETUS2 page here)

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.


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.


8 January 2021 1600 UK time.

Application procedure:  

The application process involves two steps:

Step 1: Please look at the IAPETUS2 portal here which contains an admin form that needs to be completed there [this is also where you download the Nomination form as detailed on the IAPETUS2 website – you only need to complete sections 1,3,4 at this stage and upload them in step 2]

Step 2: Also complete a full application through the University of Glasgow IAPETUS2 application portal here   

Please note: in step 2, if your referees are not able to provide you with references by the deadline, please ask them to email them to me directly as soon as possible after the closing date.

Please contact Nick for futher details

© 2020 by Nick Kamenos