PhD Opportunity – Studying the Consequences of Scallop Dredging at Heriot-Watt University

Project Description

This PhD will look at both broad scale and regional issues associated with scallop dredge fisheries in the UK. At the broad scale, the PhD will examine the current footprint of the UK scallop fleet in relation to seabed habitats and determine the status of these habitats as a result of their exposure to scallop dredging. By mapping the recoverability of these habitats we will be able to inform the development of a management plan that takes account of the wider ecosystem effects of the fishery. This work will feed into a fishery improvement project for these fisheries. At a regional scale, the PhD will take a deeper dive into a data-poor area dominated by the small-scale sector and will aim to utilize alternative sources of data such as local ecological knowledge to determine (on top of existing data) the extent to which scallop fishing overlaps with different habitat types and the extent of interaction with different types of fishing gears.

The successful candidate have a good understanding of ArcGIS and will have a demonstrable ability to use R statistical software. Experience of using social science approaches to gather local ecological knowledge or other questionnaire-based approaches is desirable.

Candidates must have a valid UK driving license given that extensive remote working will be required and must be physically capable of passing an ENG1 medical and survival at sea course. Candidates must be physically fit enough to work at sea such that they would pass an ENG1 sea-going medical and survival at sea training.

Given the nature of the PhD, experience of working with the fishing industry in collaborative programmes is highly desirable.

The student will have a large supervisory team, but must be based at Heriot-Watt University under the lead supervision of Prof Michel Kaiser. Other supervisors include: Dr David Donnan (Scottish Natural Heritage), Dr Lynda Blackadder (Marine Scotland Science), Dr Bryce Stewart (University of York) and Prof Jan Hiddink and Dr Jenny Shepperson (Bangor University), Dr Mike Bell (Heriot-Watt University, Orkney campus).

The student will also benefit from guidance from a steering committee composed of Fishmonger’s Hall, Macduff Shellfish, SWFPA, SWFPO, Open Seas and static gear and handing diving representatives and Marine Scotland.

For more information please visit the Heriot-Watt University website Please contact Professor Michel Kaiser (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) for further information or informal discussions.

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