PhD Studentship in Peatland Carbon Cycling and Greenhouse Gas Fluxes

Duration: 3 Years

Funded at €23770 per annum from which University fees (currently €5770 per annum for EU students) are payable.

Start date: Negotiable.

Location: Cork, Ireland

Project description

Many of Ireland’s raised bogs were drained and subjected to small-scale and industrial peat extraction in the 20th century.

Today, there is a move to remediate large areas of cutaway peatlands through rewetting and allowing natural revegetation. However, there is an urgent need for scientific evidence to identify the optimal management strategies for these sites in order to minimise current and future emissions of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide and methane.

This project will involve the collection and analysis of continuous GHG flux measurements from an eddy covariance tower which has been operating at a cutaway bog site in the midlands of Ireland since 2016. Peat extraction at this site ceased two decades ago and the site has been colonised by birch and scots pine. This peatland therefore represents a huge opportunity to identify sustainable land use and management practices for the future of Ireland’s cutaway raised bogs.

The student will also be expected to quantify other components of the carbon and water balance of the peatland, via ecological/biometric surveys, static chamber measurements to constrain fluxes from particular  areas, eco-hydrological fieldwork and empirical modelling of GHG fluxes.

Essential Criteria

An interest in carbon cycling and greenhouse gas dynamics of terrestrial ecosystems and a willingness to work on field experiments, across all seasons, in a peatland forest. The successful candidate should be technically minded, highly motivated, prepared for extensive field based and laboratory research, have good data analysis and written and oral communication skills, while a full clean EU driving license and fluency in English are essential. A 2.1 Honours (or equivalent) Bachelor’s Degree, or a Master’s Degree in one of the following: Plant Ecology, Botany, Forestry / Agricultural Science, Physics / Engineering or another subject, provided the candidate has relevant research experience

Prior experience in micrometeorology, eddy covariance techniques or the measurement of greenhouse gases are advantageous.

The project is supported financially by Bord na Mona and the scientific supervision team includes Dr Paul Leahy (UCC), Dr Matthew Saunders (Trinity College Dublin), Dr Catherine Farrell (Bord na Mona) and Dr Matteo Sottocornola (Waterford Institute of Technology). The project will also be supported logistically by the Lullymore Heritage Park.

To apply

Please send a CV and a cover letter by email to :

Dr. Paul Leahy, Email: | tel +353 21 4902017

School of Engineering, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.