November 28, 2018

Sources, transfer and fate of microplastics in the Arctic marine environment


Contamination of the world’s oceans by plastic waste is of growing international concern. The presence of persistent microplastic particles in very remote environments like the Arctic demonstrates the far-reaching effects of pollution arising in temperate regions. Currently, the key sources of microplastics (from both outside and within the Arctic) and their subsequent behaviour and impact on Arctic ecosystems is poorly understood. This project seeks to measure microplastics in a variety of Arctic marine samples to examine the occurrence and type of plastics in surface and deep ocean waters and to understand the broader transport of microplastics across the Arctic with ocean currents. Mechanistic insight into the transfer of microplastics between sea ice, snowmelt and underlying seawater will also be investigated with the aim of understanding microplastic release with meltwater and exposure of ice-associated biota.

This PhD studentship will take advantage of NERC’s Changing Arctic Ocean programme ( and will provide training opportunities with state-ofthe art spectroscopy/microscopy facilities as well as ocean modelling.

Applicants should hold the equivalent of a minimum of a UK Honours Degree at 2:1 level or equivalent in quantitative science subjects such as Environmental Science, Chemistry, Physics, Geography or Natural Sciences. Or alternatively an MSc in Ocean Sciences, Meteorology, Applied Physics, Applied Mathematics or other relevant subject.

Please contact Dr Crispin Halsall of Lancaster Environment Centre (LEC), Lancaster University, for further information:; +44 (0)1524 594330.