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Ecology PhD Research Projects

We have 82 Ecology PhD Research Projects

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We have 82 Ecology PhD Research Projects

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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Thinking Nature Thinking

The project is located at the intersection of philosophy and poetics, between the conceptual labor of exploring and the poetic labor of inventing the idea of nature. Read more

Understanding the role of livestock management on invertebrate communities of wet pastures

The supervisory team comprises. Glyn Barrett (School of Biological Sciences at the University of Reading), Robin Buxton (Patsy Wood Trust) and Ben Woodcock (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology). Read more

Conservation of pollinator biodiversity and sustainable management of pollination services in agroecosystems

Wild and managed pollinators provide a wide range of benefits to society in terms of contributions to food security, farmer and beekeeper livelihoods, social and cultural values, as well as the maintenance of wider biodiversity and ecosystem stability. Read more

Effects of forest diversity on aquatic-terrestrial linkages and processes

Tree species, functional and genetic diversity is known to mediate ecosystem processes and functioning of the forest ecosystems. However, natural ecosystems are connected to each other through the flow of species, energy and elements. Read more

Improving the transferability of ecological research

Ecologists aspire both to understand nature and to provide society with interventions to restore, conserve and manage nature in the face of climate and ecological breakdown. Read more

The causes of speciation rate variation in nature

The project. Rates of species formation vary dramatically across the tree of life and contribute to profound differences in species richness among clades, regions and through time. Read more

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