Natural Resources Wales PhD Placement Opportunity: Investigating trends in Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) abundance in Milford Haven

Closing date for applications is 2nd October 2023.

There has been a recent decline in herring abundance observed in the Milford Haven Waterway. As part of the Nature Networks programme, NRW are investigating both the scale of the decline and the reasons that may have led to it in both a local and wider Irish/Celtic Seas context. There is evidence to suggest that the spring-spawning Milford Haven herring are a genetically distinct sub-population of the species and, as they are an important part of the fish community and food web of the Estuaries habitat feature of the Pembrokeshire Marine SAC, increasing our understanding of the status and trends of this population is a priority. This placement would form an important component of our investigation and focus on data compilation and analysis in the following areas:

  • Compiling datasets and reviewing trends from Water Framework Directive data, wider ICES fisheries data and other local and regional datasets, to understand trends in herring populations over time.
  • Compile and analyse environmental and anthropogenic pressure data to identify potential drivers for the changes observed.
  • If possible, appraise current data availability and propose monitoring methods to fill any gaps in knowledge.

As part of the Marine Projects team, the student will gain an insight into NRW’s marine project work, as well as NRW’s wider marine programme. We welcome applications from those with experience in marine ecology with an interest in data manipulation and investigatory work. 

For further information about this post and details of how to apply, please contact Dr Frances Ratcliffe at

Please also download and complete the relevant Equality Monitoring document:

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