Response of testate amoebae to peatland grip blocking: implications for biomonitoring of peatland restoration efforts


Contact Dr Graeme SwindlesProfessor Andy Baird and Professor Joseph Holden to discuss this project further informally.

Project description

Peatlands are globally important habitats and carbon stores which are under threat from human activity and climate change. Over the last five decades, many upland blanket peatlands in the UK have had grips (drainage ditches) installed to lower water table levels and increase land productivity. However, gripping has been shown to have negative effects on biodiversity, hydrology and the amount of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) flux to water courses (Holden et al., 2011). It has also caused marked degradation of these important terrestrial carbon stores. To reduce these impacts there have been several attempts to block these grips with dams to restore the blanket peat. Testate amoebae are an important component of the soil microfauna and have been shown to be very sensitive environmental indicators in peatlands. In particular, they have been shown to respond rapidly to changes in water level.

The aim of this project is to examine the efficacy of testate amoebae for biological monitoring of peatland grip blocking.

Key reading

  • Holden, J, Wallage, Z.E., Lane, S.N and McDonald, A.T. 2011. Water table dynamics in drained and restored blanket peat. Journal of Hydrology 402, 103-114
  • Swindles, G.T., Charman, D.J., Roe, H.M. and Sansum, P.A. 2009. Environmental controls on peatland testate amoebae (Protozoa: Rhizopoda) in the North of Ireland: Implications for Holocene palaeoclimate studies. Journal of Paleolimnology 42, 123-140

Entry requirements

Applications are invited from candidates with or expecting a minimum of a UK upper second class honours degree (2:1), and/or a Master's degree in the relevant subject area.

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University’s minimum English Language requirements.

How to apply

Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the university's website. Please state clearly in the research information section that the PhD you wish to be considered for is the ‘Response of testate amoebae to peatland grip blocking: implications for biomonitoring of peatland restoration efforts' as well as Dr Graeme Swindles as your proposed supervisor.

We welcome scholarship applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.

If you require any further information about the application process please contact Jacqui Manton e: