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Ecology (genomic) PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships

We have 49 Ecology (genomic) PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships

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We have 49 Ecology (genomic) PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships

An Ecology PhD would give you the chance to study the relationships between organisms and their environment, through a model species, field work, or mathematical modelling. Whatever you study, from population ecology to how plants are affected by the soil ecosystem, you’ll be aiming to develop methods of reducing or mitigating any negative impacts environmental changes may be having.

What’s it like to do a PhD in Ecology?

Studying a PhD in Ecology, you’ll gain a variety of skills since Ecology draws on techniques from many subjects including Geology, Microbiology and Bioinformatics.

Some typical research topics in Ecology include:

  • Studying the effect of an environmental factor e.g. urbanisation is affecting a species
  • Developing models to estimate the impact of environmental changes to organisms
  • Investigating how the interaction between species has evolved
  • Population ecology, studying the dynamics of a population including interactions with environment, birth, death, and immigration rates
  • Developing methods of mitigating adverse effects of altering the environment on the species it contains
  • Focused study on a particular ecosystem and its species (overlap with Biodiversity)

In a general workday, you’ll be conducting field work and analysing previous data or if you’re project involves Bioinformatics, you’ll be writing programmes and using methods from statistics and data science to analyse large datasets. Discussing your results, progress and problems with your supervisor and colleagues.

Your PhD will end with the submission of a thesis (approximately 60,000 words in length) that significantly contributes to the knowledge of your field, and a viva exam, in which you’ll defend your research.

Ecology PhD programmes are generally advertised projects with full funding attached, with the project proposal written by the supervisor. However, for some advertised projects you must find your own source of funding, which can be difficult due to additional bench fees, though these may not be as high as more laboratory-based subjects, it is still an extra cost to cover. This difficulty also makes proposing your own project in Ecology uncommon.

Entry requirements

The entry requirements for most Ecology PhD programmes involve a Masters in a subject directly related to Biology, with experience in Environmental Biology desirable, at Merit or Distinction level. If English isn’t your first language, you’ll also need to show that you have the right level of language proficiency.

PhD in Ecology funding options

The research council responsible for funding Ecology PhDs in the UK is the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). They provide fully-funded studentships including a stipend for living costs, a consumables budget for bench fees and a tuition fee waiver. Students don’t apply directly to the BBSRC, you apply for advertised projects with this funding attached.

It’s difficult for Ecology PhD students to be ‘self-funded’ due to the additional bench fees. However, if you were planning to fund yourself it might be achievable (depending on your project) through the UK government’s PhD loan and part-time work.

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EASTBIO Exploring genomic diversity in the British Flora

  Research Group: Institute of Ecology & Evolution
Flowering plants exhibit remarkable diversity in genome structure—perhaps more than any other major organismal group—with extensive variation in chromosome number, ploidy, and genome size. Read more

The genomic and adaptive consequences of extreme, human-mediated population decline

Human activities are placing incredible pressure on the natural world and impacting population sizes of wild organisms, but the consequences of severe population decline in the wild is poorly understood. Read more

NERC E4 Roadside halophytes as a model for Anthropocene range shifts

  Research Group: Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences
Interested individuals must follow the "how to apply" link on the Geosciences E4 Doctoral Training Partnership web page. http://www.ed.ac.uk/e4-dtp/how-to-apply. Read more

Genomic and behavioural mechanisms driving the evolution of a novel visual signal in smoky rubyspot damselflies

Sexually selected animal visual signals have long fascinated biologists and lay-people alike, and the processes by which novel signals evolve has long been an important area of research among biologists interested in sexual selection [1]. Read more
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Eastbio Diversity, genomic characterisation and simulation of breeding potential for a new food crop for Scotland/UK

UK food crops need to be diversified in the face of climate change and high energy prices. We need crops that are not only sustainable for cultivation, but also have high nutritional values for both humans and livestock. Read more

NERC E4 Predicting adaptive potential from genomic data and its implications for conservation

  Research Group: Institute of Ecology & Evolution
Interested individuals must follow the "how to apply" link on the Geosciences E4 Doctoral Training Partnership web page. http://www.ed.ac.uk/e4-dtp/how-to-apply. Read more
Last chance to apply

EASTBIO Adaptive introgression and cold tolerance in British Rhododendron ponticum – a genomic approach.

  Research Group: Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences
Rhododendron ponticum is invasively naturalised over much of the British Isles, which is much colder than its native range (Spain and Turkey). Naturalised material contains introgressed (transferred by hybridisation) DNA from the highly cold-tolerant American R. Read more

Sex, males, and hermaphrodites in the scale insect Icerya purchasi

  Research Group: Institute of Ecology & Evolution
Summary. Organisms reproduce in diverse ways. Yet it is unclear why and how new reproductive strategies evolve. This project focuses on the only case of hermaphroditism in insects. Read more
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EASTBIO Genomics and evolution of recombination rates in the Soay sheep of St Kilda

  Research Group: Institute of Ecology & Evolution
When animals and plants produce eggs or sperm, chromosome pairs will recombine (or ‘cross-over’) to create new combinations of alleles. Read more
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EASTBIO Genomics of frog colouration and the role of sexual and natural selection in speciation

  Research Group: Institute of Ecology & Evolution
Animal populations that use different adaptive strategies are an ideal study system to uncover processes involved in early stages of speciation. Read more

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