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Postgraduate research project

The duration of ridge flank hydrothermal exchange and its role in global biogeochemical cycles

Fully funded (UK and international)
Type of degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Entry requirements
2:1 honours degree View full entry requirements
Faculty graduate school
Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences
Closing date

About the project

Ocean chemistry reflects a dynamic balance between riverine inputs, biological processing, sediment burial, and hydrothermal exchanges with ocean crust. Current models of seawater geochemical evolution primarily consider high temperature hydrothermal venting along ridge axes, ignoring lower temperature reactions across the vast ridge flanks. Investigating ridge flank exchange requires scientific ocean drilling through thick sediments into the oceanic crust. To date, most investigations have taken place on only young and very old crust. Consequently, although there is a measurable conductive heat flow anomaly in young ocean crust for on average ~65 million years, whether this thermal exchange also results in continual chemical exchange is not known.  

This project, jointly funded by the Royal Society and University of Southampton, aims to quantify hydrothermal exchange, providing a baseline to investigate vital Earth processes from records of past ocean chemistry. The student will work on the very first samples of 7-63 Ma ocean crust from the Southern Mid-Atlantic Ridge flank that were collected in spring/summer 2022 by the International Ocean Discovery Program. These samples will allow the timing and duration of ridge flank hydrothermal exchange to be determined, and consequently its role in setting the chemical composition of the oceans, for the first time.

For full project details visit the Inspire project page.


  • Doctor Rosalind Coggon (University of Southampton)
  • Professor Damon Teagle (University of Southampton)
  • Professor Anthony Koppers (Oregon State University)