New appointment opportunity - Research Associate Pyramids of Life

News | Posted on Friday 23 June 2023

Our planet’s natural resources face unsustainable demands and there is evidence that current management approaches are failing to move resource use towards a sustainable future. This failure is particularly acute in marine systems, where damage to marine ecosystems is occurring at a global level.

The “Pyramids of Life” project develops new ways to manage marine ecosystems that reduce human impacts on them, and improves their sustainability and resilience to climate change, with fishing based on size-resolved productivity.

Because experiments on real systems are not feasible, your task will be to develop mathematical models to capture the key ecosystem features and to forecast the likely effects of the proposed changes in exploitation.

To be useful, any proposed changes must be practical to implement and be commercially viable; the project will involve interdisciplinary working to ensure this is the case.

The models will be based on the mathematics of multispecies, dynamic size spectra. These are systems of coupled partial differential equations that track body-size distributions of an arbitrary number of species over time. They contain a basic principle that larger organisms eat smaller ones, and increase in size through doing so. In this way, they do the detailed bookkeeping of biomass as it flows through marine ecosystems.

The project is based in the Department of Mathematics at the University of York, and will involve working closely with the Departments of Environment and Geography, and Biology, at the University of York, and with other partners in UK universities and with external stakeholders.

For informal enquiries: can be sent to or 

About us

We are a research-led department. We have high-calibre staff who produce innovative and technically demanding research on a world stage, with a healthy span of research areas in pure and applied mathematics and statistics. All of our research was rated world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*) in REF2021 in all three categories: outputs, impact and environment.

Further information about the role and how to apply can be found on the University of York's job site.