What can the microbiome tell us about expanding ocean dead zones?

About the project or challenge area

Climate warming and nutrient pollution have reduced oxygen concentrations in the ocean by more than 2% since the 1960s. As a result, naturally occurring low-oxygen zones (also known as “dead zones”) are expanding. The ocean’s microbiome holds the key to understanding how low-oxygen areas respond to present and future climate change. This project aims to study the global distribution of oxygen-based metabolisms mediated by microbes using already existing genomic databases (e.g. TARA oceans). By combining genomic data with biogeochemical modelling, this project will gain insights into the distribution of key microbial communities (e.g., gene structure, gene content) in oxygen starved regions of the ocean. Genomic data will be used in combination with biogeochemical modelling to assess the expansion of these zones across different regions of the global ocean. This project provides the opportunity to work at the interface of genomics and modelling of marine biogeochemical cycles and climate.

Why choose this opportunity?

This is a great opportunity for students interested in marine biology, genomics and climate.

About you

You will have a broad interest in handling data genomic data sets, computational science and climate change. The project would suit a candidate with a strong background in computational biology or numerical modelling. Experience of computer programming and analysis of large datasets is highly desirable.

How to apply

All students can apply using the button below, following the Cabot Masters by Research Admission Statement. Please note that this is an advertised project, which means you only have to complete Section A of the Research Statement.

Before applying, we recommend getting in touch with the project's supervisors. If you are interested in this project and would like to learn more about the research you will be undertaking, please use the contact details on this page.


Your supervisor for this project will be Dr Patricia Sanchez-Baracaldo, Research Fellow and Reader in the School of Geographical Sciences. You can contact her at p.sanchez-baracaldo@bristol.ac.uk.


Your co-supervisor for this project will be Dr Oliver Andrews in the School of Geographical Sciences. You can contact him at +44 (0) 117 331 6789 or email .

Find out more about your prospective research community

The Water theme is a vibrant community of researchers who are transforming the evidence base for water-based decision making in a changing and deeply uncertain world. Find out more about the Water research theme.

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