New PhD opportunity using eDNA to assist benthic recovery

A fantastic new PhD opportunity has come up, relating to important collaborative work by SAMS, SEPA, Mowi and SAIC.

[Extract from the SAMS UHI website]

This is a unique chance to track benthic recovery, using eDNA-based methods, and compare this to traditional methods. This innovative research is of considerable academic interest and has great publication potential. 

The start date of this project is 27 September 2021.

In this PhD you will develop skills and expertise in the following:

  1. Boat-based sampling (you will have the opportunity to join Mowi in their sampling at their Loch Ewe site).
  2. Experimental design to optimise the sampling programme, optimisation in relation to available resources, consideration of true and technical/PCR replication, statistical methods for variance partitioning.
  3. Laboratory-based DNA extraction, marker/primer selection, PCR-amplification, tagging/multiplexing (collectively DNA library preparation)
  4. Laboratory-based sequencing, using RLI-UHI and SEPA’s Illumina MiSeq™ facilities
  5. Application of bioinformatic algorithms to extract information from the sequence-data, including the annotation by comparison to sequence databases
  6. Application of statistical modelling (both univariate and multivariate analysis) to quantify, display and communicate the data.

You will be based at SAMS, Oban but spend extensive periods at the UHI-RLI (Inverness, under the supervision of Barbara Morrisey, your third PhD supervisor), SEPA’s new sequencing facility (Angus Smith Building, Holytown) with visits to the University of Stirling. SAMS and the RLI host 70 marine-focussed PhD students and offers a thriving, vibrant, supportive environment.  As part of this PhD, you will be enrolled on a post-graduate certificate in Research Professional Development, giving you the opportunity to develop communication, team-working and management skills. Training in coding/programming, data handling/wrangling and statistical modelling will be provided as necessary. 

You will build on existing national and international collaborations, working with experts in DNA preparation and sequencing, bioinformatics and statistics. There will be numerous opportunities to present your work at national and international workshops and conferences and you will benefit from both a national and international context to your PhD. 

With the contacts made through the PhD partnership (SAIC, SEPA, Mowi) and the enviable skill set you will develop you will, once graduated, have tremendous employment potential across a wide range of environments (not only marine) and sectors (aquaculture, regulatory and academic). 

You will find information about eligibility, deadlines and how to apply here.