ARMS (Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures) are a standardised method of collecting data on marine benthic encrusting biodiversity, developed by the Smithsonian Institute (https://ocean.si.edu/ocean-life/invertebrates/reef-monitoring-structure). ARMS are being deployed in a global network with all data publicly available. This particular project is linked to a wider EU project (ASSEMBLE+ (http://www.assembleplus.eu/research/genomic-observatories-jra1) and therefore the student will have privileged access to samples and data from Greenland, Svalbard and Terra Nova Bay Antarctica via collaborations with Dr Jakob Thyrring, Assistant Professor Piotr Kuklinski and Associate Professor Schiaparelli, respectively, in addition to European collaborators. Furthermore, training in bioinformatics analysis of ARMS data will be provided via Dr Matthias Obst at the University of Gothenburg. Samples from the ARMS will be analysed via photographic records, standard microscopy and use of taxonomic keys. Molecular analyses, in the first instance will consist of metabarcoding, with more detailed analyses possible, as defined by the student. Training in bioinformatics analyses of ARMS will be provided by the University of Gothenburg. The student will be able to deploy ARMS and standard settlement panels at the Dove marine laboratory, with regular retrieval to examine community succession and how these data compare with eDNA samples. They will also deploy modified ARMS produced from different materials to identify how they change colonisation. Standard methodologies, as detailed above, will be employed throughout.
No fieldwork beyond work offshore at the Dove Marine Laboratory is envisaged. Because of the long timescales needed for deployment and colonisation in the polar regions, such samples will have already been collected by the time the studentship starts.
The student will be based at BAS with significant time spent at the Dove Marine Laboratory.