Aquarium 3 crop




Deep-sea Sponge PhD

Environmental assessment of deep-water sponge fields in relation to oil and gas activity: a west of Shetland case study


This PhD project aims to address knowledge gaps with regard to the sensitivity of deep-water sponge fields to oil spills.

Three complimentary objectives:

  • Complete visual surveys of sponge density and occurrence in the vicinity of BP's installations west of Shetlands;
  • conduct experimental exposures to determine sponge response to crude oil and oil/dispersant mixtures; and
  • Analyse the microbial symbionts of deep-water sponges to test for the presence of oil-degrading taxa and thus any inherent adaptions to with oil exposure.

This NERC funded PhD project in collaboration with BP and Oil and Gas UK will be undertaken by PhD candidate Johanne Vad.

Timescale Funding Bodies PhD Candidate Primary Supervisor Secondary Supervisors  Project Advisors
October 2014 to October 2018 



Oil and Gas UK

Johanne Vad Prof. Murray Roberts

 Dr. Tony Gutierrez

Dr. Mark Hartl

Dr. Lea-Anne Henry

Dr. Ted Henry

Dr. Kate Gormley