2017 POGO-PML Shipboard Training Fellowship onboard AMT cruise

General Information

21 Sep 2017 to 5 Nov 2017

The AMT Programme

The Atlantic Meridional Transect (AMT) programme (www.amt-uk.org) began in 1995, utilising the passage of the RRS James Clark Ross through the Atlantic Ocean between the UK and the Falkland Islands (50°N to 52°S, a distance of over 13,500 km) southwards in September and northwards in April each year. The transect crosses a range of ecosystems from sub-polar to tropical, and from eutrophic shelf seas and upwelling systems to oligotrophic mid-ocean gyres. The scientific aims included an assessment of mesoscale to basin-scale phytoplankton processes, the functional interpretation of bio-optical signatures and the seasonal, regional and latitudinal variations in mesozooplankton dynamics. The programme provided a platform for international scientific collaboration, including the calibration and validation of SeaWiFS measurements and products. The measurements of hydrographic and bio-optical properties, plankton community structure and primary production completed on the first 12 transects (1995-2000) represent the most coherent set of repeated biogeochemical observations over ocean-basin scales. This unique dataset has led to several important discoveries concerning the identification of oceanic provinces, validation of ocean colour algorithms, documentation of distributions of picoplankton, identification of new regional sinks of pCO2 and quantification of variability in rates of primary production and respiration.

In 2002, the programme restarted (2002-2006) and broadened, to address a suite of cross-disciplinary research questions concerning ocean plankton ecology and biogeochemistry and their links to atmospheric processes. The objectives included the determination of 1) how the structure, functional properties and trophic status of the major planktonic ecosystems vary in space and time; 2) how physical processes control the rates of nutrient supply, including dissolved organic matter, to the
planktonic ecosystem; and 3) how atmosphere-ocean exchange and photodegradation influence the formation and fate of organic matter.

Between 1995 and 2016, the programme has included 26 research cruises, involving more than 242 scientists from 18 countries, contributing to over 300 refereed publications and 75 PhD theses. AMT continues to contribute to science and policy development including the social and economic understanding of the marine environment and services it delivers. This unique spatially extensive decadal dataset continues to be deposited and made available to the wider community through the
British Oceanographic Data Centre (www.bodc.ac.uk).

AMT-27 will take place in September-November 2017 between the UK and the Falkland Islands, as part of a long-term multi-disciplinary ocean observation programme, a platform for national and international scientific collaboration, a training arena for the next generation of oceanographers and an ideal facility for validation of novel technology.

Priority areas

For those applying to work on a specific area of work that is closely aligned with the research interests of one of the Principle Investigators from PML. The Principal Investigators (PIs) on the 2017 AMT Cruise and their proposed areas of work are listed below. These are the priority areas for this special fellowship, and the selected POGO Fellow should have a scientific interest in one of these areas of work. The corresponding PI(s) will be the supervisor(s) of the Fellow during the training period.

  1. Lead PI/Co-PIs/Research area Dr. Gavin Tilstone (ghti@pml.ac.uk) and Dr. Glen Tarran (gat@pml.ac.uk): How does the interaction between CO2, temperature and nutrients influence phytoplankton photosynthesis in the Atlantic Ocean?
  2. Dr. Gavin Tilstone (ghti@pml.ac.uk) and Dr. Giorgio Dall’Olmo (gdal@pml.ac.uk): Sea truthing: An automated system for measuring primary production across the Atlantic Ocean.
  3. Dr. Gavin Tilstone (ghti@pml.ac.uk) and Dr. Bob Brewin (robr@pml.ac.uk) : Are satellite algorithms for estimating marine net community production in the North Atlantic applicable to the South Atlantic?
  4. Dr. Andy Rees (apre@pml.ac.uk) and Dr. Vas Kitidis (vak@pml.ac.uk) Determination of dissolved and atmospheric greenhouse gases (CO2, N2O & CH4).
  5. Dr. Andy Rees (apre@pml.ac.uk) and Dr. Bob Brewin (robr@pml.ac.uk) Trying to find a relationship between optical backscattering, Trichodesmium distribution and nitrogen fixation rates.

What is offered

The selected candidate will have the opportunity to visit Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) in the UK, for one month prior to the start of the cruise to participate in cruise preparation and planning; to go on the cruise (21st September to 5th November 2017) and help make hydrological, bio-optical and/or ecological observations; and after the cruise to spend approximately one additional month at PML, learning to analyse the results statistically and interpret them.

Core measurements are planned to include microbial diversity using analytical flow cytometry, 14C primary production, pCO2 and carbon chemistry, oxygen, optics, coloured dissolved organic matter (CDOM), pigments and micromolar nutrients.

One fellowship is being offered and the successful candidate will either: a) Receive training from several supervisors in a multidisciplinary approach to making oceanographic observations during the AMT research cruise; or b) Focus on a specific area of work that is closely aligned with the research interests of one of the Principle Investigators from PML.

Total period of Fellowship: 21st August to 5th December 2017. Candidates should be available to participate for the full period.


Who can apply

This fellowship program is open to early scientists, technicians, postgraduate students (PhD or MSc) and Post-doctoral Fellows involved in oceanographic work at centres in developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

How to apply

In the first instance, applicants should decide if they wish to receive the fellowship for: a) A multidisciplinary approach to conducting oceanographical observations during the AMT research cruise; or b) Focus on a specific area of work that is closely aligned with the research interests of one of the Principle Investigators from PML.

If the applicant wishes to receive the fellowship for a) a multidisciplinary approach to conducting oceangraphic observations, they need to complete the application form and submit this along with a recommendation letter from the parent supervisor plus one other letter of reference from an academic/professional.

If the applicant wishes to b) focus on a specific area of work, they need to e-mail one of the PIs listed above with a short CV and a statement of interest outlining their current research and what they hope to gain from the training. They may also be encouraged to submit a project outline to the prospective supervisor. Although the areas of work are well defined, there may be some flexibility in the project definition, which can be negotiated by e-mail between the applicant and the supervisor prior to submitting the application. Based on the information submitted by the applicant, the PI will decide if their profile is suitable for the project, and if so will issue an acceptance letter. Important note: the prospective supervisor should be contacted as soon as possible, and no later than Friday 10th March 2017, to allow sufficient time for the supervisor to consider the application before the submission deadline.

Only when the acceptance letter has been obtained from the prospective host supervisor can the application be submitted. Fellowship applicants should complete and submit electronically the application form (this can be downloaded from the POGO website at http://www.oceanpartners.org/pogo-amt-fellowships), together with a recommendation letter from the parent supervisor and a letter of acceptance from the prospective host supervisor. Additionally, the parent supervisor recommendation letter needs to be submitted as a hard copy.

If short-listed, the candidate may be asked to undergo an informal telephone/video conferencing interview. Applications and recommendation letters should be written in English and submitted in pdf format. It is recommended that descriptive sections be limited to about 100 - 150 words. Please use font sizes of 10 pt or larger. Only applications that are complete in all respects will be considered for the Fellowship.

Please send electronic versions of completed applications and attachments by e-mail to pogoadmin@pml.ac.uk. In addition, mail signed original parent supervisor recommendation letter to: POGO Secretariat Plymouth Marine Laboratory Prospect Place, The Hoe Plymouth Devon PL1 3DH United Kingdom

Deadline: The deadline for applications for the 2017 fellowship is Friday 31st March 2017. All applicants will be informed of the decision within two months of the deadline.

Review process

Representatives from POGO and AMT will review the applications. In their decision-making, the Selection Committee will consider the following points: 1. Quality of the application; 2. Curriculum of the applicant; 3. Evidence that the training will lead to capacity-building with potential lasting impact on regional observations.


1. The fellowship will provide the costs of a round-trip ticket between the home institute of the trainee and Plymouth; subsistence allowance for up to two months’ stay in the UK depending on the particulars of the proposed training (at a rate of 1035 EUR per month, normally for one month before the cruise and one month after the cruise); the flight back from the Falkland Islands; accommodation in UK (to join ship); accommodation in the Falkland Islands (on leaving ship); ship messing fee; seafaring medical and sea survival course.

2. The trainee’s institute will bear all expenses incurred by the fellow in his/her own nation (domestic travel, visa costs, personal insurance etc.), and the host institute (PML) will waive any bench fees that they may normally charge trainees.

3. POGO assumes no responsibility for compensation in the event of sickness, accident, death or disability of a Fellowship holder, nor does it arrange for insurance of a trainee or reimburse premiums paid therefore. It is the responsibility of the trainee to arrange travel insurance to cover the time taken to travel to the ship and for the subsequent return home, as well as to ensure suitable insurance cover is provided by the parent institute for the duration of the cruise.

4. The trainees are not considered agents or members of the staff of POGO, and shall not be entitled to any privileges, immunities, compensation or reimbursements, except as otherwise provided herein, nor are the trainees authorised to commit POGO to any expenditure or other obligation.

5. The trainee and the supervisors at the parent and host institutes are required to provide a short progress report at the end of the training period, to evaluate the success of the fellowship programme.