PhD: Jellyfish Bloom Risks and Management Implications in Northern Europe

Funded PhD Studentship at the University of East Anglia -School of Environmental Sciences: Jellyfish Bloom Risks and Management Implications in Northern Europe

Large concentrations of jellyfish are increasingly being recorded worldwide. The impacts on marine ecosystems and the services they provide can be substantial. The alien comb jelly contributed to the collapse of the anchovy fisheries in the Black Sea. Extensive blooms of this alien species have been recently recorded in Mediterranean and northern European coastal waters. To date, only a limited number of studies have attempted to analyse the welfare impacts caused by “jellyfish” blooms. While estimates exist in relation to a few impacted ecosystem services (e.g. provisioning services such as fisheries), estimation of other welfare impacts (e.g. loss of recreational and amenity benefits) have only recently been considered in the literature. Ecological modelling suggests that jellyfish blooms are likely to occur in the NE Atlantic although reconnaissance has to date failed to detect such manifestations. Hence biological changes pose a likely future risk to European stakeholders and populations, in particular those that use and rely upon the NE Atlantic waters and shores.

Drawing on risk-based modelling and social science methods this project will examine the following key research questions:

  • What do existing risk based models and frameworks (e.g. HELCOM) reveal about the likelihood of jellyfish populations in the North East Atlantic and their management?
  • What may be the impacts of jellyfish blooms on the North-Eastern Atlantic ecosystems and recreation?
  • What potential future economic losses could industries of the Northern European countries incur following such blooms?
  • How may stakeholder and public views and understandings of possible blooms in the NE Atlantic impact on future policy options?

The project will use a variety of risk based modelling methodologies to explore the probability of introduction, establishment and spread of invasive marine species of jellyfish in the NE Atlantic, and, to determine which industries might be impacted and the related economic losses involved. Calibration with bio-physical and socio-economic data obtained from models covering different parts of Europe will provide the basis to suggest a general framework applicable in the North of Europe. Data on social welfare impacts will also be considered with a view to undertaking novel empirical engagement with stakeholders and publics on the western coasts of the UK.

The supervisory team will consist of Dr Irene Lorenzoni at UEA and co-supervisors at CEFAS, with expert advisory input from Hull University.

This work will generate original understandings of the likely behaviour of invasive jellyfish species, scenarios of possible distribution in the UK and social and policy responses.

Entry Requirements:

A first or upper second class degree in Environmental Science, Physical/Human Geography or Natural Sciences. A strong Mathematical background is required.

Funding:

Funding will cover home/EU fees and an annual stipend (at the standard RCUK rate). Overseas students will be required to pay the difference between home/EU and overseas fees.

Application Deadline: 31st July 2013. This studentship is available to start 1st October 2013.

Please see also: http://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/AGP009/funded-phd-studentship/

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