Training a New generation of Researchers in Offshore Seaweed Aquaculture to Produce High-value Chemicals - SeaChem

DC6 position is taken by Julie Grivotte.

Project Title: Identifying key drivers for optimised yield of industrially important polysaccharides (WP2)

Host Institution: University of Galway

Country: Ireland

Supervisor: Dr Zoe Popper (PhD promoter, University of Galway), Dr Dagmar Stengel (University of Galway)

Objectives: To define environmental conditions that favor increased production of specific polysaccharides.

DC6 will identify, through controlled growth experiments, e.g., by manipulating light-, nutrient-, CO2-, and other parameters such as wave-action, the optimum yields of industry-identified seaweed-derived polysaccharides of high interest. DC6 will investigate growth conditions, including current environmental conditions as well as predicted climate change scenarios with a view to identifying optimal at-sea locations for cultivation that are future-proofed.   DC6 will assess polysaccharide structure, including composition and degree of polymerization, depending on the tissue, and season. DC6 will investigate red, green, and brown, species of industrial importance DC6 will select that contain additional high-value components next to polysaccharides.

Expected Results: Identification of the primary drivers of seaweed polysaccharide production and the flux between different localisations i.e. carbon-partitioning, identification of at-sea cultivation sites that are future-proofed with respect to climate change.

Enrolment in Doctoral degree(s): University of Galway, Botany and Plant Science

Planned secondments:

Host: CTAQUA, Supervisor: Erik-Jan Malta, Timing: M20-22, Length: 3 months, Purpose: training in advanced analytical procedures for seaweed composition determination.

Host: BMRS, Supervisor: Julie Maguire, Timing: M30-32, Length: 3 months, Purpose validation of lab scale results on offshore pilot-scale seaweed cultivation infrastructure.

Candidate requirements: 

  • You hold a master’s degree in biology, bioscience engineering, plant sciences, (bio)chemistry, chemical engineering or a related field and you thrive in a multidisciplinary research environment.
  • You have a solid knowledge of analysis and properties of complex biomolecules.
  • You are ambitious, well organized and have excellent communication skills.
  • You speak and write fluent English and have the ability to work effectively and collaboratively.
  • You are an enthusiastic and motivated person, ready to participate in personal training, international travel and public awareness activities.
  • You have demonstrated your commitment to high quality research.


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