Marine Biology: KESS II Funded MRes Studentship at Swansea University: Investigating a novel approach to native oyster production and associated ecosystem services

  • Master
  • Full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus a stipend
  • 31 August 2017

Swansea University is a UK top 30 institution for research excellence (Research Excellence Framework 2014), and has been named Welsh University of the Year 2017 by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide.
\This scholarships is part funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) convergence programme for West Wales and the Valleys.\*
Since the decline of populations of native oyster, Ostrea edulis, in the UK, most oyster production now comes from the introduced Pacific oyster. The higher commercial value and multitude of ecosystem processes and services provided by native oysters make strong commercial and ecological arguments for the reintroduction of this species, however, and the Welsh Government’s Marine Biodiversity Restoration Task and Finish Group has placed native oysters at the top of their priority list of species for restoration.
Native oyster production methods have until now been forced to rely upon traditional ranching techniques because of poor survival in alternative culture systems, such as the commonly used trestle and bag systems.  Ranching, although successful is an inefficient use of small seed oysters. This project will work with Tethys Oysters Ltd. (a partnership venture between Mumbles Oyster Company Ltd. and Jersey Seafarms Ltd.) to investigate the growth and survival of native oysters in newly-developed culture systems.
Culture systems containing different densities of juvenile native oyster will be deployed in West Angle Bay with oyster beds (also seeded with different densities) as control sites. Oysters from control and experimental sites will be monitored monthly to collect data on growth and condition and samples will be taken monthly for biochemical and cellular analyses of potential stress markers. This project will also investigate potential differences in the infection rate of the parasitic disease, Bonamia ostrea, which can cause mass mortalities in growing oysters, between experimental and control zones. Finally, baseline biodiversity and habitat data will be collected for West Angle Bay; these data will be important for future work looking at potential biodiversity and overspill effects of culturing oysters in this location. This work may involve some collaborative fieldwork with a local community group (Milford Haven Oyster Group).
Scholarships are collaborative awards with external partners including SME’s and micro companies, as well as public and third sector organisations. The scholarship provides 1 year funding with a 3 month period to complete the thesis. The achievement of a postgraduate skills development award, PSDA, is compulsory for each KESS II scholar and is based on a 30 credit award.


Candidates should have a 2.1 or above in their undergraduate degree of Marine Biology or a related subject. They should also be eligible for UK/EU Fees.


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The studentship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus a stipend. The bursary will be limited to a maximum of £11,472 p.a. dependent upon the applicant’s financial circumstances.There will also be additional funds available for research expenses.


Please visit our website for more information.

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