The amount of plastic in our ocean is growing exponentially, with recent estimates of more than 5 million metric tonnes of plastic reaching the ocean each year. This plastic infiltrates the ocean food web and thus poses a major threat to marine life. However, understanding of the distribution, pathways and fate of plastic once in the ocean is very limited. The project ‘Tracking Of Plastics In Our Seas’, funded by the European Research Council, will create a novel comprehensive modelling framework that simulates plastic movement through the ocean, and use that framework to significantly improve the understanding of the plastic pollution in our oceans.
This PhD position will contribute to the development of numerical parameterisations of how plastic moves through the ocean, compiling and analysing interdisciplinary data from published observations and lab experiments on the fate of plastic in the ocean and converting that data to relations between the ocean-state (wind, currents, waves, tides, phytoplankton concentration) and movement of virtual plastic particles. The PhD will then use these parameterisations to investigate how ocean currents move plastic around the globe.
- MSc in Physics, Computer Science, Applied Mathematics or similar field;
- Strong skills in python programming;
- Ability to cooperate within a wider research team;
- Excellent level of written and spoken English.
- Proven affinity with physical oceanography;
- Strong skills in C programming;
- Experience with software development practices such as version control, and unit-testing.