Objective: Optimize the analytical technology for sampling inland waterways. The first year will consist of hands-on training to operate the analytical instrumentation which will tested locally during the summer months of June-September. The first year will also establish the protocols for handling data in real-time including the quality control and archiving practices. A target objective for the end of Year One is the submission of a methods manuscript detailing the instrumentation with preliminary field data. Because the analytical method represents a novel approach, this manuscript would be very appropriate.
Objective: Field based measurements of nitrogen fixation. In the second year, a concerted field campaign will be conducted at Loch Leven, Scotland. This field location is part of the UK Lake Ecological Observatory Network and has ongoing physical and biogeochemical time-series observations including meteorological conditions, oxygen, and photosynthetic pigments. This suite of measurements provides essential contextual ecosystem information for the analysis of algal blooms. The student will also be trained in additional measurements including nutrient concentrations (ammonium, nitrate, and phosphate) and cell identification/enumeration via microscopy. The fieldwork campaign will coordinate closely with the co-supervisor Professor Laurence who overseas observations at Loch Leven. The key outcome from Year 2 will be a published report of the findings
Objective: Completion of field observations. The third year activity will depend upon the outcomes of the second year. If necessary, the Loch Leven fieldwork will be repeated to provide a more comprehensive set of measurements. If no additional validation is required for the Loch Leven fieldwork then the IATEPUS student will be encouraged to apply the analytical instrumentation to other locations which suffer from algal blooms e.g. the Cumbrian Lake District (in association with UKCEH long-term monitoring sites). This will demonstrate the versatility of the analyses and also increase the students capabilities of working in the field. The key outcome from Year 3 will be submission for scientific publication of the Loch Leven fieldwork and the identification of future applications of the technology.
The emphasis of the final 6 months is completion of the PhD and to ensure that all of the datasets comply with the FAIR principles associated with data management. This is a critical component of all scientific projects and the student will be trained in the relevant procedures during Year 1-3, so at this stage, the emphasis will be increasing the visibility of the data by developing publicly accessible datasets with the appropriate visualisation and archiving.