The effectiveness of partially protected marine areas for ecosystem based fisheries management

MPhil/PhD studentship available full time

Project title: The effectiveness of partially protected marine areas for ecosystem based fisheries management

Start date: 1 January 2018

Director of StudiesDr Emma Sheehan

Second SupervisorProfessor Martin Attrill

Project description

Globally, the designation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) has been far more successful than the monitoring and assessment of their effectiveness. In 2008, the University of Plymouth commenced a robust annual monitoring study of a partially protected MPA in Lyme Bay, South West UK, when it was designated. To date, the study has been valuable in demonstrating the importance of site- vs feature-based management of MPAs, timescales of recovery, and resilience to storms. This project will build on this success, delving deeper into the functional recovery response of the Lyme Bay MPA and testing “The effectiveness of partially protected marine areas for ecosystem based fisheries management”.

While the PhD student will have the opportunity to get involved with fieldwork at sea, it is not essential as the focus of this PhD will be based on novel analysis of the epibenthic and demersal data sets built up over ten years by the supervisory team. Different components of the analysis may include: video, geospatial, acoustic and statistical. Potential topics for investigation will include:  

  • Functional recovery of sessile and sedentary species using towed video and mobile species from baited video.
  • Changes in benthic noise over time and space.
  • Changes in scallop populations and their health.

General information about applying for a research degree at Plymouth University is available at:  

You can apply via the online application form which can be found at: and select ‘Apply’.

Please mark it FAO Aimee McNeillie and clearly state that you are applying for a PhD studentship within the School of Biological and Marine Science.

For more information on the admissions process contact Aimee McNeillie.

Closing date for applications: 12 noon, December 2017.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview in December 2017. We regret that we may not be able to respond to all applications. Applicants who have not received an offer of a place by 22 December should consider their application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.


Applicants should be highly motivated and have a relevant undergraduate degree at 2:1 or above, and ideally an appropriate MSc or MRes qualification. Previous experience in statistical and GIS analysis would be beneficial.


The studentship will have a three and a half year duration and will cover full-time home/EU tuition fees plus a stipend of £14,553 per annum. The position is open to all applicants, although candidates required to pay overseas fees must be able to cover the difference between home/EU and overseas tuition fees (approximately £10,350 per annum for 2017/2018).