What’s it like to do a PhD in Biodiversity?
As a Biodiversity PhD student, you’re likely to spend time doing field work and collecting samples that you’ll later analyse in the laboratory. Depending on your exact project you’ll spend more or less time in the laboratory, but regardless, you’ll gain a range of skills and experience in your field.
Some typical research topics in Biodiversity include:
- Impacts of mining/quarries on biodiversity
- Conservation management plans
- Developing artificial habitats to reduce the loss of biodiversity
- The effect of climate change on biodiversity
- Effectiveness of National Pollinator Strategy
- The effects of deep-sea plastic on sea life (cross over with Marine Biology)
A general day will consist of surveying your ecosystem of interest and recording data or testing samples previously taken in the laboratory. You’ll also spend time chatting to your supervisor and colleagues about your methods and results and plan your next set of observations and experiments. At the end of your PhD, you’ll produce a thesis of around 60,000 words and have a viva exam to defend your work.
The majority of Biodiversity PhD programmes are advertised projects that come with full funding attached. While the project is pre-determined to a degree, you are responsible for choosing where to take the work along the way.
Proposing your own project in Biodiversity is uncommon, as you’ll have to find a supervisor with research interests that overlap with your project, they need to have the connections to send you to your ecosystem of study, and you must find funding to cover both PhD and bench fees.