DTC GEO 1 - Project Title: Assessing the impact of volcanism on past climate. 

Project Description: Volcanism is a major forcing of natural climate variability, yet the climate sensitivity to individual events and the extent to which past eruptions exerted change over a range of timescales remains poorly understood, due to the limitations of deriving a full record of volcanic events. This project will use microscopic ash deposits preserved within polar ice-cores to identify the timing and source of large eruptions in the past and evaluate their impact on climate. 

DTC GEO 2 - Project Title: Wildfires – carbon source or sink?  

Project Description:  Wildfires emit the equivalent of 30% of the global carbon (C) emissions from fossil fuel combustion, but are widely considered C neutral as the emitted C is normally taken up again as vegetation regrows. In fact, the production of C-enriched and degradation-resistant charcoal during fires may lead to a net sequestration of C. This project aims at including this C sequestration potential of charcoal in global C budgeting by (i) quantifying the degradation resistance of charcoal produced in different types of vegetation fires and (ii) incorporating this information in C flux models. 

DTC GEO 3 - Project Title: Dwelling through Rural Second Homes

Project Description: Not least at a time of perceived housing shortages, rural second homes represent controversial expressions of consumption, symbolising class inequality, urban appropriation, lack of affordable housing and the demise of ‘traditional’ rural communities. Yet, inspired by Scandinavian work the supervisor has partly been involved with, this project will explore just how British rural second homeowners consume their properties. From qualitative fieldwork and conceptual material on dwelling (Ingold) and heterolocalism (Halfacree), it will examine the importance of the second home for owner’s identity, how it is consumed representationally and non-representationally, and the extent and ways its consumption engages with the rural environment.

DTC GEO 4 - Project Title: SForest health detection with high-resolution hyperspectral and thermal remote sensing and radiative transfer modelling.

Project Description:  Forested ecosystems threatened by the unusual spread of diseases and climatic anomalies is a major global environmental problem worldwide. This project is focused on detecting, monitoring and modelling the early onset of decline processes before they are irreversible using high-resolution hyperspectral and thermal remote sensing and radiative transfer modelling.

 DTC GEO 6 - Project Title: Geophysical field exploration of firn aquifers on ice caps in Svalbard, High Arctic

Project Description: In the last few years the major discovery of firn aquifers on Polar ice sheets and glaciers has led to the appreciation that hundreds of gigatonnes of water may be stored within them for years to decades, thus causing major delays in the ice masses’ contributions to sea level rise. The hydrological processes that control water flow and storage within these aquifers are not well known, however, so that numerical models that seek to predict the timings of future sea level rise contributions are subject to considerable uncertainty. An exciting opportunity has now arisen for an exceptional PhD candidate to join an ongoing project led by the Norwegian Polar Institute in Svalbard, High Arctic, to conduct seismic, radar and/or geoelectric geophysical and hydrogeological surveys to understand the physical properties of and hydrological processes in firn aquifers towards better model predictions of meltwater runoff and sea level rise contribution.

 DTC GEO 8 - Project Title:  Seasonality in Himalayan glacier dynamics

Project Description: Glaciers in the Himalayas are gradually wasting away, and often present risks to local communities in the form of outburst floods. These glaciers feel a strong influence from the monsoon, yet we know little about their response to seasonal climate variations. Using the unprecedented availability of satellite radar images from Sentinel-1, this project will explore the seasonal dynamics of glaciers across the Himalayan range.

DTC GEO 9 - Project Title: Platforming Knowledge Production

Project Description: Digital platforms now play a role in most economic sectors, and knowledge production and consumption in higher education are no exception. Partnering with groups such as CHERISH-DE at Swansea University, this project will explore how digital platforms are changing labour and consumption practices, value production, and rent extraction in the rapidly privatising higher education sector in Wales and more broadly across the UK (although other public sector organisations such as urban service providers, local authorities and local government will be considered). Based in both Geography and Media and Communication Studies, this jointly supervised PhD project will focus on the “digital turn” in human geography and proximate disciplines, employing political economic analysis to grapple with the ideological, material, and crucially, spatial transformation of data, information, and knowledge both inside universities but also in relation to firms that sell services to universities and public sector organisations such as publishers, educational technology companies, and social media platforms.

DTC GEO 10 - Project Title: Amended biochars to remediate heavy polluted mine waters 

  • First Supervisor Name: Dr Iain Robertson
  • Email Address: i.robertson@swansea.ac.uk 
  • Link to Staff Profile: http://www.swansea.ac.uk/staff/science/geography/i.robertson/

Project Description: The aim of the proposed PhD is to investigate the use of amended biochars to remediate heavy polluted mine waters and to determine the feasibility of metal recovery from the biochars.  Inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES) in the Department of Chemistry will be used to determine the success of the methods employed and assistance will be provided by Natural Resources Wales.  The long-term aim of the PhD is to develop a technique that can be used in conjunction with other methods to ensure compliance with the appropriate water quality standards.

How to apply for a Biosciences Research Degree Project

Candidates must have a minimum of an upper second class honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject, or an appropriate Master’s degree (with Merit). Informal enquiries are welcome by emailing the project supervisor.

Please send the following to science-scholarships@swansea.ac.uk and include the reference number of the reference number of the project in the email subject line (eg DTC BIO 1):

  • A comprehensive CV to include:
  • Details of qualifications, including grades
  • Details of any current and relevant employment or work experience
  • A covering letter stating why the project you are applying for particularly matches your skills and experience and how you would choose to develop the project