Sarah Holmes
PhD student


Research projects

Project Title: Using annually resolved bivalve records and biogeochemical models to understand and predict climate impacts in coastal oceans

Supervisors: Dr Paul Halloran, Prof. Chris Perry (Exeter University), Dr Paul Butler (Bangor University) and Dr Johan van der Molen (CEFAS).

Funding Body: NERC and CEFAS (NERC Industrial CASE Studentship)

Project Description:
The shelf seas are disproportionally productive compared to the open ocean, sustaining over 90% of global fisheries. It is therefore very important to understand both past and future processes in these coastal oceans, especially in lieu of climate change, which threatens eutrophication, anoxia, ocean warming and more. Biogeochemical or ecosystem modelling has the capacity to reconstruct shelf sea processes, both hindcasting and forecasting, but spatial and temporal limitations in observational data of the ocean is restricting our ability to test model accuracy.

This PhD study aims to create and use proxy records of the bivalve mollusc Arctica islandica in the North Sea to validate and improve the benthic component of ecosystem models, in particular the CEFAS version of the European Regional Seas Ecosystem Model (ERSEM). The research may then be able to advance predictions of how future shelf seas will respond to climate change, influencing the advice given to policy-makers and stakeholders as well as contributing to the wider modelling, sclerochronology and climate/ocean science community.

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