Funded PhD at Plymouth Uni: Ecology and distribution of European sea bass

“Ecology and distribution of European Sea Bass in inshore and coastal waters in South West England”

2015-10-13 08.07.14

This one isn’t plankton-related, but my colleagues @Dr_Emma_Sheehan and @MJAttrill are looking for a PhD student to carry out a funded project examining South West England sea bass ecology and distribution. This PhDship will be jointly supervised by the Devon and Severn IFCA and so presents a unique opportunity to experience to closely observe fisheries management.

Emma and Martin are awesome – Emma is working closely with Lyme Bay fishermen to explore the ecosystem effects of a trawling ban, while Martin is an expert in multiple aspects of marine conservation ecology (and was one of my PhD supervisors, so I can vouch for him!). If I didn’t have a PhD already, I’d totally apply for this one!

The PhDship details are below:

Funded PhD Research Studentship beginning 1 January 2016: 

“Ecology and distribution of European Sea Bass in inshore and coastal waters in South West England”

Supervisory team: 

Dr Emma Sheehan and Professor Martin Attrill  Plymouth University Marine Institute, Plymouth

Dr Elizabeth Ross and Tim Robbins  Devon and Severn Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority, Brixham

Dr Shaun Plenty  Bridgwater College, Somerset

Project Description

The European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) fishery is valuable for the commercial and recreational sectors. As a result of increasing fishing pressure and changing environmental conditions for a fishery at its most northerly range, bass populations in UK waters are experiencing notable fluctuations. In the early 1990s bass nursery areas were designated to protect juvenile bass in estuaries and in 2015 new restrictions on commercial and recreational fisheries were introduced in response to a call from ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea) for an 80 per cent cut in the fishing mortality of bass.

This study aims to provide policy-relevant information on the distribution and ecology of bass within the Devon and Severn Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities’ district (DS IFCA). Additionally, by working with commercial and recreational fishing sectors to map fishing pressure in the district, the effectiveness of existing and future management strategies will be identified. Based at Plymouth University, this PhD will provide a unique opportunity to work with statutory fisheries managers and collect data that will allow DS IFCA to make evidence based decisions to help manage a sustainable bass fishery.


Applicants should have a minimum of a first class or upper second class bachelor degree. Applications from candidates with a relevant masters qualification will be welcomed. The candidate will gain experience in boat and shore based field work; estuarine and marine fish identification and morphometrics, fish tagging, remote video and laboratory skills.


The studentship is supported for 3.5 years and includes full Home/EU tuition fees plus a stipend of £14,057 per annum. The studentship will only fully fund applicants who are eligible for Home/EU fees with relevant qualifications. Applicants normally required to cover overseas fees will have to cover the difference between the Home/EU and overseas tuition fee rates (approximately £10,800 per annum).

If you wish to discuss this project further, please contact Dr Emma Sheehan. Applications must be made according to the details below.

See for further information.

About Abigail McQuatters-Gollop

Marine biologist, guitarist, cat lover, red wine drinker. I like plankton.
This entry was posted in Marine Conservation, PhdShip, students and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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