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DkIT Offering PhD Opportunity in Lake Biogeochemistry

19 June 2019

Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) are inviting applications for a 36 month, funded PhD studentship examining carbon fluxes through the littoral zone of the humic lake Lough Feeagh, which is part of the Burrishoole catchment in Co. Mayo Ireland. 

The Marine Institute research station in the Burrishoole catchment is already an international index site for diadromous fish, and a world leader in the use of in-situ automated monitoring systems to track changes in freshwater systems.  This PhD project will be based DkIT, with field based activities carried out in Burrishoole catchment at the Marine Institute in Newport, Co. Mayo. The position is funded for three years and the successful candidate will be registered as a full time research student in DkIT, under the supervision of the PhD project supervisor, Dr Valerie McCarthy and co-supervised by Dr Eleanor Jennings and Dr Mikkel Andersen. The PhD degree will be awarded by Dublin City University.

Project Overview

It is now understood that terrestrial carbon stores, including peatlands, are vulnerable to loss of carbon to the atmosphere as a result of changing climate.  An increase in dissolved organic carbon concentrations has already been reported in many aquatic peatland ecosystems in the Northern Hemisphere.  The potential impact of this destabilisation in carbon stores is poorly understood for both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.  Consequently there has been an increased focus on understanding carbon fluxes in freshwater systems, however, much of the focus has been placed on the open water pelagic system, and to the main inputs delivered via larger streams and rivers.  The shallower waters of the littoral zone surrounding lakes have received less attention.  Indeed there is a gap in the global literature in general on these littoral zones.  This project will address that gap though a targeted research programme to quantify carbon cycling in the littoral zone of Lough Feeagh, which will also contribute to the on-going work in this catchment resolving the overall ecosystem-scale carbon budget for that lake.  This study will focus on the contribution of the littoral zone to carbon gas exchange within the lake, with special emphasis paid to the littoral carbon dioxide and methane fluxes and their environmental controls in addition to gaining an insight into the role of the littoral biological community in the decay of organic matter such as leaf litter and the contribution of the littoral zone to energy fluxes through the aquatic food-web.

Application Procedure

Submit an electronic copy of Curriculum Vitae and a letter of interest simultaneously to the DkIT Research Office to Aideen Gaynor (email: by the 4th July 2019 at 5pm.


For more information please contact Dr. Valerie McCarthy (

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