Self-funded PhD opportunities

Bioprotection or biodeteroriation? The contradictory role of microbiological activity in heritage stone decay under changing climates

  • Application end date: Applications accepted all year round
  • Funding Availability: Self-funded PhD students only
  • Department: Department of Geography
  • PhD Supervisor: Rob Inkpen and Joy Watts

Biological activity on heritage stone can be unsightly but beyond the aesthetic changes there is a continuing debate about whether biological growth protects or decays the underlying stone. As climate changes it is likely that the ‘greening’ of historic monuments will increase and so understanding the impact of microbiological activity becomes ever more important. This project analyses the impact of microbiological growth on heritage stone through both laboratory-based and field-based methods. Identification of the key organisms and their associated ecologies on Portland stone surfaces in urban and rural environments in Hampshire will then form the basis for detailed laboratory and field experimental work into the spatial and temporal variations in the nature and intensity of microbiologically induced decay or protection of the stone surface.

Molecular tools will be used to identify and fingerprint microbial communities present on the stone surface. Using a range of destructive and non-destructive techniques such as laser scanning changes in the characteristics of the stone under different ecologies will be analysed. The results of this work will not only help conservators in deciding the most appropriate management strategy for dealing with increased microbiological activity.

Funding notes:

This PhD opportunity is available to self-funded students. Bench fees may apply. For more information please contact the project supervisor.

How to apply:

To apply or make an enquiry, please visit postgraduate research: Geography

All applications should use our standard application forms and follow the instructions given under the ‘Research Degrees’ heading on the following webpages:

When applying please note the project code - GEOG2980217