PhD Opportunity: Arctic methane emissions, University of Nottingham

PhD on the “Contribution of permafrost thaw to Arctic methane emissions from peatland systems” at University of Nottingham, UK

Department: Biosciences

Location: Nottingham, UK

Submission deadline: 24 May 2024

Reference: SCI275

Supervisor: Asst. Prof. Roseanna Mayfield

Secondary Supervisor: Prof. Sofie Sjögersten

Start Date: 01 October 2024

Duration: 36 months

Research Description:

Arctic and Subarctic peatlands are rich in carbon and account for c. 20% of permafrost (layers of frozen sediment) area. As these regions warm up to 4 times faster than the rest of the planet, the permafrost thaws at an accelerating rate, changing the landscape shape and vegetation, and often new lakes and ponds form. These lakes and ponds are hotspots for greenhouse gas emissions. To quantify the methane emissions from these lakes, we require a greater understanding of permafrost melt and lake development within these peatlands.

This PhD project aims to quantify methane production with lake development in combined peatland and lake systems in Northern Sweden across decadal timescales. Measurements will be taken at areas experiencing different stages of thaw, e.g. thaw lakes in existence pre-1960 and those forming now. This will be achieved through modern methane measurements and proxy methods using palaeoarchives. In the project, we will identify developing thaw lakes, measuring methane, and use sedimentological and palaeoecological proxy methods (including invertebrate and isotope analysis) to understand both modern day and historical methane emissions from these lakes. There will be opportunities to explore novel methane-based and palaeoenvironmental analyses to complement the project.

 The successful candidate will receive extensive training in a range of field and laboratory based methodologies including field work in the Arctic. Training in transferable skills, such as presenting and data analysis, will also be provided. Further training requirements of the individual will be identified and met through the development of a personal training plan. The candidate will be joining a growing and welcoming research group at the University of Nottingham, School of Biosciences, with multiple opportunities for networking, collaboration, and professional development. There will also be scope for networking and collaboration with colleagues at other UK and international institutions.

Terms and Conditions: Owing to funding constraints for tuition fees, this opportunity is only available to UK home students.

Applicant Qualification Requirements: Minimum of a UK Honours degree at 2:1 (or equivalent) in a relevant subject

How to Apply: A short cover letter explaining why you feel you are a suitable candidate (maximum 1 page, minimum font size 11), alongside a curriculum vitae should be emailed to, after which a formal application can be made via the University website: