Fully funded PhD: Mapping Wreck Sites

We are very happy to announce a  fully funded PhD studentship for UK/EU students as part of the Marine and Maritime Futures Leverhulme Trust Doctoral Scholarship scheme at the University of Southampton.   If you have an excellent academic track record, are looking for a stimulating and challenging trans disciplinary project in a world class research environment please read on for further details on how to apply …

Project Title: Mapping potential wreck sites with seafloor data – scientific, social and legal considerations.
Thousands of potentially polluting WWII shipwrecks litter the ocean floor. The pollutants carried on board may include oil, ammunition or other toxic materials. Leakage of pollutants from such wrecks may take place continuously or catastrophically, and the risk of such an event increases with time. The location of several of these wrecks is known and monitored by national administrations, but by far the majority sank without exact information on their location. The UK Ministry of Defence is presently undertaking a project trying to identify the location of such WW II wrecks, on the basis of historic information. In addition, hindcasts of oceanic circulation and storm surges extending before WWII can be used to enhance our understanding of the nature of the wrecking. Finally, there are now multiple publically available (UKHO, CCO, MCA) and commercial sources of swath bathymetry from the UK shelf, against which this archive derived wreck record can be compared. In many cases the decimetre resolution of the swath data will also facilitate full mapping of the identified sites.

This PhD will combine historical records with the prevailing weather and oceanographic conditions at the time of sinking in order to define areas where the wrecks may be. These zones will be cross- referenced against the extant swath bathymetry targets to facilitate an assessment of the environmental risk present in the various areas of the UK Continental Shelf. Key to this project is the co-consideration of legal responsibilities for identifying and locating such wrecks and ensure they are not polluting the seas. Issues to explore include: Where the wrecks were at the time of sinking beyond jurisdiction of the state but now rest within the UK shelf or EEZ does responsibility rest with the UK; Do the flag state of ships have responsibility under international law?

Closes 5 February 2016, APPLY NOW!