Skip to content
A blanket bog under a cloudy sky with a single hill in the background.

An assessment of environmental and anthropogenic pressures on peatland surfaces

  • School: School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
  • Starting: 2023
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / Fully-funded


Blanket bogs are a rare ombrotrophic (rain-fed) type of peatland mainly located in oceanic areas (Lindsay et al., 1988). Ireland possesses the largest extent of recognised blanket bogs within the European Union (European Environment Agency, 2019); however, a large proportion are under increasing anthropogenic pressures affecting biodiversity value, carbon sink and carbon storage functions, hydrological regulation, and other key ecosystem services and benefits of restore and pristine blanket bogs (Nugent et al., 2018). Among the important and pervasive pressures on European blanket bog environments are impacts from grazing animals which are facilitating peat erosion and expanding exposed peat areas and increasing erosion rates (Chico, 2020). This is impacting ecosystem benefits and services including carbon losses as previously reported for Spain (Chico, 2020). However, although there is much research to show livestock impacts of blanket bog surfaces in Ireland and the UK, there is limited comparative research on the quantification of current peat erosion rates using the same methodology on blanket bog, in Europe or globally, nor on how grazing activities and behaviour may be continuing to impact peatland surfaces (e.g. vegetation cover) maintaining exposed blanket peat areas and contributing to carbon losses.

The LIFE IP Wild Atlantic Nature, with funding from the National Parks and Wildlife Service and Nottingham Trent University are offering a fully funded 3.5 years PhD to assess peat erosion in Irish blanket bogs and determining the importance and role of grazing animals in the erosional process.

The successful candidate will spend at least 3 months a year in Ireland undertaking fieldwork in collaboration with the LIFE IP Wild Atlantic Nature and the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

About LIFE IP Wild Atlantic Nature

Wild Atlantic Nature LIFE IP, a 9-year EU-funded LIFE Integrated Project, works with farmers, local communities and land owners to add value to the wide range of services provided from our Special Area of Conservation (SAC) network of blanket bogs and associated areas. These peatlands provide clean drinking water, store carbon, support biodiversity, produce high quality food and support resilient rural economies and livelihoods through farming, tourism, recreation and other activities. As part of the project, a pilot voluntary Results Based Payment Scheme (RBPS) will be linked to the quality of the habitat, thereby putting landowners and their skills, expertise and knowledge of their land central to the development of this project.

About Nottingham Trent University – School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences

Now more than ever, our planet is facing some tough challenges. With a growing population putting inevitable pressure on the Earth’s resources, plotting the path to a sustainable future has never been more vital. We’re committed to developing research and innovation which can make a meaningful difference.

We undertake research in a range of land-based disciplines at NTU’s dedicated Brackenhurst Campus. This campus has a proud professional heritage, having delivered courses in these subject areas for over 70 years. Today we’re firmly focused on developing graduates with 21st century skills, scientific knowledge and experience.

We aspire for excellence through international and interdisciplinary collaboration, and foster a research environment that rewards innovation. Our research is recognised both nationally and internationally, often informing professional practice across the sector.

Entry qualifications

Candidates must have a Masters degree (Merit or above) in a subject area relevant to the PhD project. First Class bachelor candidates will be considered.

Full driving license is essential for this role. Applicants without full driving license will be not considered.

How to apply

Find out about guidance and support for PhD students.

Application deadline for this project is Monday 19 June 2023.

Interviews will likely take place during the week starting Monday 10 July.

The start date is 1 October 2023.

Fees and funding

This opportunity is 3.5 years fully funded PhD by the LIFE IP Wild Atlantic Nature and Nottingham Trent University. All fees will be covered by the scholarship as well as a student stipend as follows:

2023/2024: £17,668 (estimated)

2024/2025: £18,056 (estimated)

2025/2026: £18,454 (estimated)

2026/2027: £18,860 (estimated)

The student stipend is subject to confirmation from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

In addition, this fully funded PhD also will have an additional £2,000 every year towards consumables, travel and others cost in the 3 first years. In the last year, this contribution will be £1,000.

Guidance and support

Find out about guidance and support for PhD students.

Still need help?

Dr Guaduneth Chico
+44 115 84 85363