Funded PhD opportunities

Harvesting the seashore: the impacts and management of inter-tidal fisheries.

  • Application end date: 11th February 2018
  • Funding Availability: Funded PhD project (International students only)
  • Department: School of Biological Sciences
  • PhD Supervisor: Dr G Watson, Dr R. Herbert, Dr Steve Mitchell

Project code: BIOL4070218 - This project is only open to International (non-EU) students.

Project description

Harvesting the sea shore is an integral part of coastal life, but at local, national and global scales these inter-tidal fisheries are highly valuable, extract significant biomass and have considerable impacts.  They, therefore, urgently require governance equivalent to other offshore fisheries.  However, critical gaps in our understanding of these data-limited activities remain that currently prevent the implementation of evidence-based fisheries and resource management for coastal regions especially within Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

The Solent and Poole European Marine Sites (MPAs) on the south coast of the UK provide a unique opportunity to assess the extent and impacts of these fisheries as they support high levels of bait, clam, cockle and oyster collection operating at different spatial scales and utilising different methods.  The project is designed to assess the extent of these fisheries and evaluate the impact of these collection methods on habitats, target and non-target species and the function that these deliver (i.e. ecosystem services).  The project will provide evidence to support effective management strategies that will meet future UK and European conservation, economic and social priorities.  

Key questions to be addressed:

  1. What is the historical and current extent of inter-tidal fisheries within the MPAs?

  1. What impact do inter-tidal fisheries have on the bioavailability of sediment-bound pollutants?

  1. How is ecosystem function affected by inter-tidal fisheries?

  1. What are the population-level impacts of inter-tidal fisheries on wading birds?

The student will have opportunities to acquire a diverse set of skills including macrofaunal sampling and identification, trace metal and sediment analysis, GIS mapping, aerial photography, assessments of functional traits and hydrodynamic modelling.  The student will also work closely with the relevant agencies including the Solent Forum, Natural England and The Southern Inshore Fisheries Conservation Agency and be part of the vibrant Ecotoxicology and Environmental Monitoring Group within the University.  In addition, s(he) will have access to the Graduate School Development Programme and Department Postgraduate Researcher Training.  Expected career opportunities would be academic research as well as conservation and fisheries resource management for government agencies, NGOs and environmental consultancies in the UK and beyond. 

Supervisor profiles

Dr Gordon Watson

Dr R. Herbert (University of Bournemouth)

Dr Steve Mitchell

Admissions criteria

You’ll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (depending upon chosen course, minimum second class or equivalent) or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. Exceptionally, equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.


Informal enquiries are encouraged and can be made to Dr Godron Watson at (02392 845798).

For administrative and admissions enquiries please contact

How to Apply

You can apply online at You are required to create an account which gives you the flexibility to save the form, log out and return to it at any time convenient to you.

A link to the online application form and comprehensive guidance notes can be found at

When applying, please quote project code: BIOL4070218.

Interview date: TBC

Start date: October 2018.

Funding notes

This project is only open to International (non-EU) students.

Eligible applicants will be considered for the Portsmouth Global PhD scholarship scheme.

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