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Effects of habitat management on the mating system and reproductive success of European nightjar populations (PhD in Environmental Science)

Lead supervisor: Dr Kathryn Arnold, Department of Environment and Geography, University of York

Co-supervisor(s): Professor Terry Burke (Animal and Plant Sciences / Director, NERC Biomolecular Analysis Facility, University of Sheffield),  Dr Kate Durrant (School of Life Sciences University of Nottingham).

To discuss your suitability for this project please email: kathryn.arnold@york.ac.uk

Habitat loss and fragmentation are known to negatively impact many wildlife species. Habitat restoration projects do not always bring immediate increases in target populations and more data are needed on the behavioural mechanisms by which individuals find mates and breeding territories in fragmented landscapes.

This project will focus on the European nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus , a nocturnal insectivorous bird. This species is Amber listed after years of population decline in the UK. Nightjars migrate to the UK from Africa in early Spring and breed on UK heathlands. At our study sites across East Midlands and Yorkshire, populations of nightjar vary in terms of their demographic and environmental factors. The habitats at the sites are also managed very differently providing us with a system for testing a variety of hypotheses. This studentship will investigate: 1) Variation in mating system, sexual selection and reproductive success due to anthropogenic impacts; 2) Temporal and spatial variation in mate availability, nesting habitat and foraging conditions; 3) Evidence for genetic structure in the UK breeding population. The student will join ongoing research work and have access to existing data and DNA samples collected over several years

This project will suit a student wishing to work in avian ecology, applied ecology and/ or conservation genetics. Experience in fieldwork, particularly with birds will be an advantage, as will laboratory experience using molecular techniques. The student will be based in the Department of Environment and Geography, University of York, carry out fieldwork during the summer at field sites in East Midlands (in collaboration with University of Nottingham and local wildlife groups) and Yorkshire (in partnership with Natural England who manage the Humberhead Peatlands NNR). The student will have access to the expertise and facilities of the Molecular Ecology Laboratory, University of Sheffield for all his/her molecular analyses. Scientific training will be provided in a range of ecological, statistical and molecular/genomic approaches as required.

CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS:  23h59min on Tuesday 9th January 2018

Funding Notes

Fully funded for a minimum of 3.5 years, the studentships cover: (i) a tax-free annual stipend at the standard Research Council rate (£14,533 for 2017-2018, to be confirmed for 2018-2019 but typically increases annually in line with inflation), (ii) research costs, and (iii) tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. Studentships can be extended for another six months on a case-by-case basis: for example 3 months extra funding is guaranteed if students opt to take a 3 month internship during their PhD. Studentships are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.  Students from EU countries who do not meet residency requirements may still be eligible for a fees-only award. Requirements: At least a 2:1 honours degree, or equivalent.  There are language requirements for international students. Studentships are available full-time or part-time. 

Other information

This PhD project is part of the NERC funded Doctoral Training Partnership “ACCE” (Adapting to the Challenges of a Changing Environment).  This is a partnership between the Universities of York, Sheffield and Liverpool, and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Selection Process: Shortlisting will take place as soon as possible after the closing date and successful applicants will be notified promptly.  Shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview to take place at the University of York on 15th or 19th February 2018.  Video interviews can be arranged for international applicants. 

Queries: If you have any queries related to the application process please email us.

More information and applications detail

Modelling exposure and effects of mycotoxins in fish (PhD in Environmental Science)

Lead supervisor:Dr Roman Ashauer, Department of Environment and Geography, University of York

Co-supervisors:  Dr Karen Thorpe (York, Department of Environment and Geography)

To discuss your suitability for this project please email: roman.ashauer@york.ac.uk

Mycotoxins are naturally occurring toxic secondary metabolites of microscopic filamentous fungi which grow on a variety of food crops used for both human consumption and animal feeds.  In animals, ingestion of mycotoxin-contaminated feeds has been associated with organ failure, carcinogenicity, neurotoxicity, immunosuppression, reproductive and developmental toxicity, but much less is known about the impacts of mycotoxins for wildlife.  There are concerns that naturally produced mycotoxins could leach from soils into surrounding waterbodies where they could pose a risk to the health of aquatic organisms, including fish. Furthermore, because some mycotoxins can accumulate in body tissues of exposed animals there are concerns that they could also pose a risk to humans ingesting wild fish that have been exposed to mycotoxins.  This aims to assess the exposure and effects of mycotoxins in a laboratory freshwater fish species.  Fish will be exposed to low (non-toxic) concentrations of mycotoxins and internal body concentrations of the mycotoxins and their metabolites measured to assess uptake, elimination and accumulation of the mycotoxins.  Exposure studies to the low concentrations of the mycotoxins will also be conducted to assess impacts on the growth and physiology of the fish.  The data generated from these studies will be used to develop a toxicokinetic-toxicodynamic (TKTD) model that could be used by regulators to develop guidelines for maximum permissible levels of mycotoxins in waterbodies and in the tissue of fish destined for human consumption.

CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS:  23h59min on Tuesday 9th January 2018

Funding Notes

Fully funded for a minimum of 3.5 years, the studentships cover: (i) a tax-free annual stipend at the standard Research Council rate (£14,533 for 2017-2018, to be confirmed for 2018-2019 but typically increases annually in line with inflation), (ii) research costs, and (iii) tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. Studentships can be extended for another six months on a case-by-case basis: for example 3 months extra funding is guaranteed if students opt to take a 3 month internship during their PhD. Studentships are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.  Students from EU countries who do not meet residency requirements may still be eligible for a fees-only award. Requirements: At least a 2:1 honours degree, or equivalent.  There are language requirements for international students. Studentships are available full-time or part-time. 

Other information

This PhD project is part of the NERC funded Doctoral Training Partnership “ACCE” (Adapting to the Challenges of a Changing Environment).  This is a partnership between the Universities of York, Sheffield and Liverpool, and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Selection Process: Shortlisting will take place as soon as possible after the closing date and successful applicants will be notified promptly.  Shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview to take place at the University of York on 15th or 19th February 2018.  Video interviews can be arranged for international applicants. 

Queries: If you have any queries related to the application process please email us.

More information and applications detail

Influence of sea-level rise on carbon sequestration in US salt marshes (PhD in Environmental Geography)

Lead supervisor: Professor Roland Gehrels, Department of Environment and Geography, University of York

Co-supervisors: Dr Richard Payne (University of York), Annette Burden (Centre for Ecology & Hydrology), Professor Torbjörn Törnqvist (Tulane University, USA)

To discuss your suitability for this project please email: roland.gehrels@york.ac.uk

Sea levels are rising and threaten many coastal environments, including salt marshes. These valuable environments absorb and store carbon at remarkably rapid rates, much faster than, for example, rain forests. While future changes in sea level and wave climate may lead to erosion of salt marshes, it is also possible that increased rates of sea-level rise can stimulate more rapid carbon uptake and therefore help to reduce climate change. This project aims to test this hypothesis. It will do this by comparing records of recent sea-level change with changes in carbon accretion in salt marshes in North America. Research sites will be in Maine and Mississippi (USA) where some of the most productive salt-marsh ecosystems in the world are found. 

The project will include a significant amount of fieldwork, followed by micropalaeontological and geochemical analyses in the laboratory. The objectives of the project are to: (1) reconstruct historical sea-level changes, (2) measure recent salt marsh accretion rates, (3) measure carbon in salt marsh cores, (4) perform litterbag burial experiments to determine decay rates, (5) conduct isotopic analyses to determine sources of carbon.

The studentship will be based at the University of York.  Depending on available skills and experience, the successful applicant will receive training in palaeoecological techniques, dating methods, and field techniques. The supervisory team combines expertise in sea-level reconstructions (Gehrels), carbon cycling (Burden, Payne) with the external co-supervisor providing local expertise in salt marshes in eastern North America (Törnqvist). The project is open to students with at least a 2/1 degree (and ideally a Masters) in Physical or Environmental Geography, Geology, Environmental Science or a closely-related subject. Relevant field and lab skills and interests in sea-level and climate change are obviously a plus. 

CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS:  23h59min on Tuesday 9th January 2018

Funding Notes

Fully funded for a minimum of 3.5 years, the studentships cover: (i) a tax-free annual stipend at the standard Research Council rate (£14,533 for 2017-2018, to be confirmed for 2018-2019 but typically increases annually in line with inflation), (ii) research costs, and (iii) tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. Studentships can be extended for another six months on a case-by-case basis: for example 3 months extra funding is guaranteed if students opt to take a 3 month internship during their PhD. Studentships are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.  Students from EU countries who do not meet residency requirements may still be eligible for a fees-only award. Requirements: At least a 2:1 honours degree, or equivalent.  There are language requirements for international students. Studentships are available full-time or part-time. 

Other information

This PhD project is part of the NERC funded Doctoral Training Partnership “ACCE” (Adapting to the Challenges of a Changing Environment).  This is a partnership between the Universities of York, Sheffield and Liverpool, and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Selection Process: Shortlisting will take place as soon as possible after the closing date and successful applicants will be notified promptly.  Shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview to take place at the University of York on 15th or 19th February 2018.  Video interviews can be arranged for international applicants. 

Queries: If you have any queries related to the application process please email us.

More information and applications detail

Environmental impacts of tidal energy generation on tidal environments and shorebirds (PhD in Environmental Geography)

Lead supervisor: Dr Jon Hill, Department of Environment and Geography, University of York

Co-supervisorsDr Angus Garbutt (CEH), Dr Kathryn Arnold (York, Department of Environment and Geography)

To discuss your suitability for this project please email: jon.hill@york.ac.uk

Renewable energy is a key technology in the quest to make our energy carbon-free. However, installing and creating renewable energy has environmental impacts that are yet to be fully realised. Shorebirds and their invertebrate prey, for example, are predicted to be particularly impacted by changes to tidal patterns resulting from Tidal Energy Generation projects. However, this remains to be proven.

This project aims to quantify the environmental impacts of tidal energy in the UK. Using a mix of techniques including modelling and fieldwork it will create a unique opportunity for a student to make a real impact on how tidal energy is designed and used in the UK. Links to industrial partners and the UK’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology will be utilised in full to gather data and provide real-world opportunities for future employment or further research. The project will focus primarily on birds as a measure of environmental impact. The student will also have the opportunity to participate in fieldwork to observe birds in tidal areas. As well as scientific outputs, this project will generate management recommendations for the renewable energy industry and policymakers.

We are looking for a student either with a strong background in mathematics or computer programming who is excited to develop their knowledge of avian ecology and physical geography OR a scientist with a background in ecology, environmental science, geography or similar with good quantitative skills who is keen to gain expertise in modelling. This project is truly interdisciplinary, so we will provide specialist training as required.

The research will be based in the Department of Environment and Geography at the University of York. Rated second in the UK and 17th in the world for the impact of our research, the Department of Environment and Geography at the University of York offers an outstanding, dynamic and multidisciplinary environment in which to carry out PhD research. Our current PhD students come from many countries around the world and are well supported by a comprehensive programme of training and an inclusive supervision network.

CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS:  23h59min on Tuesday 9 January 2018

For more information on supervisors see:

https://jonxhill.wordpress.com/

https://www.york.ac.uk/environment/our-staff/kathryn-arnold/

https://www.ceh.ac.uk/staff/angus-garbutt

Funding Notes

Fully funded for a minimum of 3.5 years, the studentships cover: (i) a tax-free annual stipend at the standard Research Council rate (£14,533 for 2017-2018, to be confirmed for 2018-2019 but typically increases annually in line with inflation), (ii) research costs, and (iii) tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. Studentships can be extended for another six months on a case-by-case basis: for example 3 months extra funding is guaranteed if students opt to take a 3-month internship during their PhD. Studentships are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.  Students from EU countries who do not meet residency requirements may still be eligible for a fees-only award. Requirements: At least a 2:1 honours degree, or equivalent.  There are language requirements for international students. Studentships are available full-time or part-time.

Other information

This PhD project is part of the NERC funded Doctoral Training Partnership “ACCE” (Adapting to the Challenges of a Changing Environment).  This is a partnership between the Universities of York, Sheffield and Liverpool, and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Selection Process: Shortlisting will take place as soon as possible after the closing date and successful applicants will be notified promptly.  Shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview to take place at the University of York on 15th or 19th February 2018.  Video interviews can be arranged for international applicants.

Queries: If you have any queries related to the application process please email us.

More information and applications details 

 

Assessing the Impact of Microplastics on Terrestrial Ecosystem Services (PhD in Environmental Science)

Lead supervisor:Professor Mark Hodson, Department of Environment and Geography, University of York

Co-supervisors: Dr Karen Thorpe (Department of Environment and Geography, York) and Prof Lorraine Matby (Sheffield)

To discuss your suitability for this project please email: mark.hodson@york.ac.uk

The UK water industry generates 15K tonnes of sludge each year and up to 80% of this is treated and recycled to land.  Although EU regulations restrict land application rates of treated sludge, based on pathogen, metal and nutrient content, microplastic pollution is not considered. However, approximately 99% of microplastics discharged to wastewaters are retained in sewage sludge and between 63,000 and 430,000 tonnes of microplastics are added annually to European farmlands.  These microplastics are highly persistent and have been found 15 years after the application of sludge to agricultural land.  Because microplastics can adsorb chemicals from the surrounding environment, as well as hosting diverse microbial communities, there are concerns that they could alter soil health and function through disrupting microbial activity, carbon storage and nutrient cycling.  Microplastics could also transport adsorbed agrochemicals and microbes through ecosystems as they move from the soil to ground and/or drainage water.  This project will investigate the impact of microplastics on soil health and function to inform on the implications of microplastic-contamination for terrestrial ecosystems.

The studentship will be based in the Department of Environment and Geography at the University of York, where the student will be part of a vibrant postgraduate community.  Additional to gaining training in a range of experimental techniques, including analytical chemistry, soil science, exposure studies, and molecular biology, the student will gain further personal development and study skills training through the postgraduate community. 

This project also offers the student an opportunity to work with scientists at the University of Sheffield where they can gain further training in understanding the impacts of environmental stressors on ecosystem services. 

This studentship is suited to a student interested in soil science, ecotoxicology, molecular ecology and/or analytical chemistry

CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS:  23h59min on Tuesday 9 January 2018

Funding Notes

Fully funded for a minimum of 3.5 years, the studentships cover: (i) a tax-free annual stipend at the standard Research Council rate (£14,533 for 2017-2018, to be confirmed for 2018-2019 but typically increases annually in line with inflation), (ii) research costs, and (iii) tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. Studentships can be extended for another six months on a case-by-case basis: for example 3 months extra funding is guaranteed if students opt to take a 3 month internship during their PhD. Studentships are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.  Students from EU countries who do not meet residency requirements may still be eligible for a fees-only award. Requirements: At least a 2:1 honours degree, or equivalent.  There are language requirements for international students. Studentships are available full-time or part-time. 

Other information

This PhD project is part of the NERC funded Doctoral Training Partnership “ACCE” (Adapting to the Challenges of a Changing Environment).  This is a partnership between the Universities of York, Sheffield and Liverpool, and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Selection Process: Shortlisting will take place as soon as possible after the closing date and successful applicants will be notified promptly.  Shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview to take place at the University of York on 15th or 19th February 2018.  Video interviews can be arranged for international applicants. 

Queries: If you have any queries related to the application process please email us.

More information and applications detail

Links between the marine cycles of nitrogen and iodine (PhD in Environmental Science)

Lead Supervisor: Dr Claire Hughes (University of York, Department of Environment and Geography)

Co-supervisorDr Claire Mahaffey (Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences, University of Liverpool)

To discuss your suitability for this project please email: c.hughes@york.ac.uk

Recent research has established that the reaction of iodide with ozone at the sea surface plays an important role in controlling atmospheric chemistry and composition. The loss of tropospheric ozone resulting from this process has major impacts on air quality and climate. The marine distribution of iodide controls ozone deposition to the sea surface and sea-air iodine emissions, but the processes controlling iodine speciation in seawater remain poorly understood. It has been suggested that there are links between nitrogen and iodine cycling in seawater but this is yet to be fully investigated. More so, the oceanic nitrogen cycle is undergoing change in response to stratification, ocean acidification and increased atmospheric deposition.  If changes in iodine speciation are linked to key processes in the marine nitrogen cycle (e.g. nitrification, assimilation) there may be significant alterations to the ocean distribution of iodide in the future with implications for tropospheric ozone.

The studentship will be supervised by Dr Claire Hughes (University of York) and Dr Claire Mahaffey (University of Liverpool). It will build on recent results from our laboratory to establish if key processes in the marine nitrogen cycle drive changes in iodine speciation, and determine how future alterations to the marine nitrogen cycle under global change will impact iodine cycling. This will be a predominantly laboratory-based study but there are likely to be opportunities for UK or overseas fieldwork. Highly motivated candidates with a background in marine science, oceanography or environmental science (or related disciplines) are encouraged to apply.

CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS:  23h59min on Tuesday 9th January 2018

Funding Notes

Fully funded for a minimum of 3.5 years, the studentships cover: (i) a tax-free annual stipend at the standard Research Council rate (£14,533 for 2017-2018, to be confirmed for 2018-2019 but typically increases annually in line with inflation), (ii) research costs, and (iii) tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. Studentships can be extended for another six months on a case-by-case basis: for example 3 months extra funding is guaranteed if students opt to take a 3 month internship during their PhD. Studentships are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.  Students from EU countries who do not meet residency requirements may still be eligible for a fees-only award. Requirements: At least a 2:1 honours degree, or equivalent.  There are language requirements for international students. Studentships are available full-time or part-time. 

Other information

This PhD project is part of the NERC funded Doctoral Training Partnership “ACCE” (Adapting to the Challenges of a Changing Environment).  This is a partnership between the Universities of York, Sheffield and Liverpool, and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Selection Process: Shortlisting will take place as soon as possible after the closing date and successful applicants will be notified promptly.  Shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview to take place at the University of York on 15th or 19th February 2018.  Video interviews can be arranged for international applicants. 

Queries: If you have any queries related to the application process please email us.

More information and applications detail

 

Peering into the hidden world: Photosynthetic microbes as functionally-significant indicators of peatland degradation and restoration. (PhD in Environmental Geography)

Lead supervisor: Dr Richard Payne, Department of Environment and Geography, University of York

Co-supervisors: Dr Claire Hughes (University of York), Dr Mark Hancock (RSPB), and Dr Roxane Andersen (University of the Highlands and Islands)

To discuss your suitability for this project please email: richard.payne@york.ac.uk

Peatlands are the largest terrestrial carbon store, locking away more carbon than all the world’s vegetation combined. The UK has extensive peat but most of our peatland is degraded by peat extraction, forestry or poor land management. Large quantities of public money are currently being spent on peatland restoration in order to protect the carbon store and improve biodiversity. Conservation organisations are now under pressure to demonstrate the effectiveness of this spending. While some changes with peatland degradation and restoration are well-known, others are almost entirely unknown. This is particularly the case in terms of microbial communities. The focus of this project is the photosynthetic microbes which are known to be highly abundant in peatlands. These organisms must be playing important roles in the carbon cycle through primary production but this role and the controls upon it are barely understood. By better understanding how photosynthetic microbes respond to human impacts we may be better able to restore functioning peatlands.

In this unique interdisciplinary project, the student will:

1)      Quantify the diversity and biomass of photosynthetic microbes in Scottish peatlands.

2)      Assess the impacts of degradation and alternative restoration approaches on microbial biodiversity and biomass.

3)      Quantify the contribution of microbial photosynthesis to primary production.

4)      Develop, test and validate practical microbial bioindication approaches.

The supervisory team combines experts in environmental conservation with experts in peatland ecology and biogeochemistry. The project is supported financially by Scottish Natural Heritage who will host the student for placement phases to work on the real-world application of the methods developed. The student will also work closely with experts in peatland restoration at the University of the Highlands and Islands and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. The student will therefore benefit from the range of expertise and research facilities of multiple institutions.

The student will receive training in all methods to be used in the project including microscopic microbial analysis, carbon flux measurements, plant ecology and statistics. The project will involve extensive fieldwork in the peatlands of northern Scotland. The project is open to students with at least a 2i degree in Geography, Environmental Science or Biology (or a closely-related subject) and interests in ecology, biogeochemistry or microbiology. Interested students are welcome to contact the first supervisor to discuss the project and for further information.

CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS:  23h59min on Tuesday 9th January 2018

Funding Notes

Fully funded for a minimum of 3.5 years, the studentships cover: (i) a tax-free annual stipend at the standard Research Council rate (£14,533 for 2017-2018, to be confirmed for 2018-2019 but typically increases annually in line with inflation), (ii) research costs, and (iii) tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. Studentships can be extended for another six months on a case-by-case basis: for example 3 months extra funding is guaranteed if students opt to take a 3 month internship during their PhD. Studentships are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.  Students from EU countries who do not meet residency requirements may still be eligible for a fees-only award. Requirements: At least a 2:1 honours degree, or equivalent.  There are language requirements for international students. Studentships are available full-time or part-time. 

Other information

This PhD project is part of the NERC funded Doctoral Training Partnership “ACCE” (Adapting to the Challenges of a Changing Environment).  This is a partnership between the Universities of York, Sheffield and Liverpool, and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Selection Process: Shortlisting will take place as soon as possible after the closing date and successful applicants will be notified promptly.  Shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview to take place at the University of York on 15th or 19th February 2018.  Video interviews can be arranged for international applicants. 

Queries: If you have any queries related to the application process please email us.

More information and applications detail

 

The quantification of changes in supraglacial conditions on the Greenland Ice Sheet and implications for surface drainage development (PhD in Environmental Geography)

Lead supervisor: Dr David Rippin, Department of Environment and Geography, University of York

Co-supervisors: Dr Andrew Sole (Department of Geography, University of Sheffield) and Dr Stephen Livingstone (Department of Geography, University of Sheffield)

To discuss your suitability for this project please email: david.rippin@york.ac.uk 

During the melt-season, extensive networks of supraglacial channels and lakes develop in the ablation area of the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) as a consequence of surface melting. These drainage elements are important since they have the potential to transmit large volumes of water to the ice bed via moulins where it can impact on ice flow rates. However, how quickly these drainage elements evolve, and thus the efficiency with which water can be transited across and into the GrIS, is largely unknown, as to date, there have been no studies of sufficiently high temporal and spatial resolution to determine this. This proposal seeks to be the first to explore and quantify the nature of such drainage evolution through the use of a combination of remote sensing and field-based techniques. In this way, we will explore changes at the surface that take place over the course of a melt season and beyond. In detail, the aims of this project are:

  • To gather satellite images and airborne photography to explore the temporal and spatial variations in drainage development and evolution.
  • To use satellite imagery (MODIS) to explore variations in surface albedo and other parameters as potential controls on drainage development.
  • To use time-lapse imagery (field-based approaches) to explore the evolution of surface conditions and drainage pathways
  • To quantify the changes that take place over the course of a melt season.
  • To explore the controlling mechanisms behind relative drainage stability or dynamics.

It is the intention to relate the high-resolution record of evolving supraglacial drainage that will result to meteorological variables and an assessment of ice dynamics (via links with a White Rose Consortium that involves all of the supervisors)

CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS:  23h59min on Tuesday 9th January 2018

Funding Notes

Fully funded for a minimum of 3.5 years, the studentships cover: (i) a tax-free annual stipend at the standard Research Council rate (£14,533 for 2017-2018, to be confirmed for 2018-2019 but typically increases annually in line with inflation), (ii) research costs, and (iii) tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. Studentships can be extended for another six months on a case-by-case basis: for example 3 months extra funding is guaranteed if students opt to take a 3 month internship during their PhD. Studentships are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.  Students from EU countries who do not meet residency requirements may still be eligible for a fees-only award. Requirements: At least a 2:1 honours degree, or equivalent.  There are language requirements for international students. Studentships are available full-time or part-time. 

Other information

This PhD project is part of the NERC funded Doctoral Training Partnership “ACCE” (Adapting to the Challenges of a Changing Environment).  This is a partnership between the Universities of York, Sheffield and Liverpool, and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Selection Process: Shortlisting will take place as soon as possible after the closing date and successful applicants will be notified promptly.  Shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview to take place at the University of York on 15th or 19th February 2018.  Video interviews can be arranged for international applicants. 

Queries: If you have any queries related to the application process please email us.

More information and applications detail

Microbes and Microplastics: Assessing the influence of ingesting microbially colonised plastics on the physiology of fish. (PhD in Environmental Science)

Lead supervisor: Dr Karen Thorpe, Department of Environment and Geography, University of York

Co-supervisors: Dr Dave Spurgeon (NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Wallingford), Dr Claire Hughes (University of York), Dr Lindsay Newbold (NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Wallingford)

To discuss your suitability for this project please email: karen.thorpe@york.ac.uk

Plastics are prevalent and persistent contaminants in aquatic ecosystems that have been associated with the deaths of millions of fish and seabirds each year.  Once in the environment plastics do not fully degrade but slowly fragment, over decades, into smaller particles termed microplastics (plastic particles less than 5mm in size).  There are numerous reports of microplastics being found in the stomachs of wild fish, but at present it is not known whether this ingestion of microplastics is detrimental to health.

This studentship aims to further our understanding of the implications of ingesting microplastics for fish health.  As plastics are colonised by a diverse community of bacteria and microscopic eukaryotes in aquatic environments, the project will use the newly established aquatic facilities at the University of York to assess the effects of environmentally conditioned (microbially colonised) microplastics on fish physiology.   A combination of molecular and microscopic techniques will be used to compare bacterial communities in the guts of non-plastic exposed fish (controls) with fish exposed to microbial-colonised or non-colonised microplastics.  Furthermore, a series of morphological and molecular measures will be used to assess the biological consequences of ingested microplastics on fish health in the longer-term.

The studentship will primarily be based in the Department of Environment and Geography at the University of York, where the student will be part of a vibrant postgraduate community.  Additional to gaining training in a range of experimental techniques, including microscopy, microbial incubations and aseptic technique, fish handling and exposure studies, the student will gain further personal development and study skills training through the postgraduate community. 

This project also offers the student an opportunity to work with scientists at the Centre of Ecology and Hydrology (CEH, Wallingford) and gain extensive training in molecular biology techniques, including DNA isolation, PCR, quantitative PCR and DNA sequencing.

This studentship is suited to a student interested in aquatic ecotoxicology, and/or molecular ecology.

CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS:  23h59min on Tuesday 9th January 2018

Funding Notes

Fully funded for a minimum of 3.5 years, the studentships cover: (i) a tax-free annual stipend at the standard Research Council rate (£14,533 for 2017-2018, to be confirmed for 2018-2019 but typically increases annually in line with inflation), (ii) research costs, and (iii) tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. Studentships can be extended for another six months on a case-by-case basis: for example 3 months extra funding is guaranteed if students opt to take a 3 month internship during their PhD. Studentships are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.  Students from EU countries who do not meet residency requirements may still be eligible for a fees-only award. Requirements: At least a 2:1 honours degree, or equivalent.  There are language requirements for international students. Studentships are available full-time or part-time. 

Other information

This PhD project is part of the NERC funded Doctoral Training Partnership “ACCE” (Adapting to the Challenges of a Changing Environment).  This is a partnership between the Universities of York, Sheffield and Liverpool, and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Selection Process: Shortlisting will take place as soon as possible after the closing date and successful applicants will be notified promptly.  Shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview to take place at the University of York on 15th or 19th February 2018.  Video interviews can be arranged for international applicants. 

Queries: If you have any queries related to the application process please email us.

More information and applications detail

Unravelling methane capture in forests (PhD in Environmental Science)

Lead supervisor: Dr Sylvia Toet, Department of Environment and Geography, University of York

Co-supervisors: Dr Niall McNamara (CEH), Dr Sirwan Yamulki (Forest Research),  Dr Elena Vanguelova (Forest Research)

To discuss your suitability for this project please email: sylvia.toet@york.ac.uk

Why is this project important?

Methane (CH4) is an important greenhouse gas, globally responsible for 17% of current radiative forcing.  Soils can be important net sources or sinks of CH4 depending on the net balance of two contrasting microbial processes - CH4 production and CH4 oxidation.  Unsaturated soils in which the latter, aerobic process dominates form the only global terrestrial CH4 sink, but estimates are still highly uncertain, both spatially and temporally.  Further, whilst forest soils have shown some of the strongest net CH4 uptake rates, this is not consistent across sites. Our lack of understanding of what controls these site differences is due to limitations in CH4 flux measurement technology and the confounding issue that soil CH4 oxidation and production in soils often co-occur. This ‘cutting edge’ research project will help inform forest management on how to maintain or promote this globally important forest CH4 sink by: 

1)    unraveling the contrasting processes which lead to net CH4 uptake in managed UK and European forest soils

2)    identifying what factors promote an effective forest soil CH4 sink

What’s in it for you?

This project will involve field work at a range of contrasting UK and European forest sites in combination with targeted lab experiments using state-of-the-art greenhouse gas analysis systems to determine the potential of UK forest soils to take up CH4, to partition CH4 fluxes, and then link the fluxes to abiotic and biotic drivers.

You will be part of an experienced, dynamic and complementary research team at the University of York, CEH-Lancaster and Forest Research who are at the forefront of research on greenhouse gas emissions, stable isotope approaches and microbial techniques.

This studentship will provide you with excellent training and guidance in experimental design, gas flux measurements with greenhouse gas analysis systems in the field and the lab and analysis of large datasets, and may also include microbial approaches, depending on your specific interests.  Forest Research is CASE partner on this project, and will provide host study periods giving you a unique insight in their organisation, and valuable forestry and field site expertise and support.

CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS:  23h59min on Tuesday 9th January 2018

Funding Notes

Fully funded for a minimum of 3.5 years, the studentships cover: (i) a tax-free annual stipend at the standard Research Council rate (£14,533 for 2017-2018, to be confirmed for 2018-2019 but typically increases annually in line with inflation), (ii) research costs, and (iii) tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. Studentships can be extended for another six months on a case-by-case basis: for example 3 months extra funding is guaranteed if students opt to take a 3 month internship during their PhD. Studentships are available to UK and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.  Students from EU countries who do not meet residency requirements may still be eligible for a fees-only award. Requirements: At least a 2:1 honours degree, or equivalent.  There are language requirements for international students. Studentships are available full-time or part-time. 

Other information

This PhD project is part of the NERC funded Doctoral Training Partnership “ACCE” (Adapting to the Challenges of a Changing Environment).  This is a partnership between the Universities of York, Sheffield and Liverpool, and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Selection Process: Shortlisting will take place as soon as possible after the closing date and successful applicants will be notified promptly.  Shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview to take place at the University of York on 15th or 19th February 2018.  Video interviews can be arranged for international applicants. 

Queries: If you have any queries related to the application process please email us.

More information and applications detail