PhD projects

If you are interested in any of the below Ph.D. projects, please send me a CV and brief research proposal.

Ph.D. project 1: Experimental study of particle capture by biological collectors

The term ʻparticle captureʼ refers to the physical process by which particles suspended in a fluid come into contact with a solid structure (a ʻcollectorʼ), adhere to the collector’s surface and are consequently taken out of suspension.

In aquatic systems, the rate of particle capture controls the health, productivity and propagation of some of the most productive, biodiverse and valuable ecosystems on the planet, particularly coral reefs and seagrass meadows. Our objective is to enable ecologists to predict the collection of suspended particles (such as plankton, pollen and suspended sediment) by seagrasses, corals and the wide range of marine suspension feeders. We will use an experimental campaign to move beyond existing, highly idealised formulations of particle capture and provide, for the first time, formulations that apply to real particles and real collectors.

Specifically, the specific research aim of this study is to incorporate the effects of:

(1) free-stream turbulence,
(2) collectors existing in arrays (such as in seagrass meadows and beds of suspension feeders), and
(3) oscillatory flow

into particle capture estimates. Incorporation of these effects will lead to a greatly improved ability to predict rates of capture of suspended particles in real aquatic ecosystems.