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PhD Position: Quantification of marine ecosystem services in connection with marine nature restor...

University of Southern Denmark (SDU)
Odense, Fyn (DK)
Closing date
15 Jul 2024

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Environmental Science, Life Science
Job Type
PhD Position
Employment - Hours
Full time
Fixed term

A 3-year PhD position is available at the Department of Biology, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark. The start date is September 15, 2024.

The PhD position is part of a newly funded Aage V. Jensen project: Quantification of marine Ecosystem Services in connection with Marine nature Restoration (QESMAR). The overall aim of the QESMAR project is to develop a standardized assessment framework to efficiently quantify achieved ecosystem services (ES´s) and make them comparable across different restored habitats. To support this, three PhD projects will be initiated which in collaboration will develop tools to efficiently monitoring and quantify a range of ES’s associated with marine restoration project.

Healthy coastal ecosystems support higher trophic levels through food availability, habitat structures, and physical shelters and support human well-being through food and energy resources, as well as by providing cultural and recreational services. Important ecosystem services (ES’s) provided by marine habitats includes immobilization and transformation of carbon and nutrients, stabilizing sediment, improving the light intensity and water quality, and coastal protection. For Danish waters, primarily eutrophication, but also intensive fisheries, damming, extraction of raw materials, and invasive species have caused severe damage to most coastal waters. Over recent decades, significant efforts have been made to recover coastal marine areas, and restoring marine life is considered doable if major human pressures are mitigated. There is however limited information on the effects of restoration efforts, as long-term monitoring is rarely undertaken. The choice of sampling design and metrics varies between projects making it difficult to compare the success of restoration efforts. It is therefore essential to apply coherent monitoring and reporting of restoration outcomes to enable reliable assessments of restoration success and improve restoration strategies for the future.

This PhD project will focus on ES’s associated with nutrient loading, nutrient storage, growth dependent nutrient uptake, dynamic and cycling coupled to oxygen availability and the development of biodiversity. The study should integrate measurement over extended eutrophication gradients to combine observations at different spatial and temporal scale to map the distribution and abundance of benthic species associated with eelgrass, boulder reefs and biogenic reefs.

Data collection and measurements will be in collaboration with the two other PhD student in the project to enable assessment of the importance of species and habitats for ecosystem health and functioning. Data collection will supplement ongoing restoration projects in Danish coastal waters and will be used to develop metrics for assessment of biodiversity status and rates of ecosystem recovery.

It will be considered as an advantage that the applicant has experience with marine restoration methods, monitoring, and data collection in eelgrass patches, on stone reefs and mussel reefs.

Application deadline: 15 July 2024 at 23:59 hours local Danish time

Please see the full call, including how to apply, on

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