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Ecology PhD Research Projects

We have 84 Ecology PhD Research Projects

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We have 84 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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Green cities: how our decisions affect landscape biodiversity

  Research Group: Applied Ecology Research Group (AERG)
Research Group. Applied Ecology Research Group. (AERG). Proposed supervisory team. Dr Alvin Helden. Dr Tom Ings. Theme. Smart Cities. Read more

Biodiversity footprint of quarry restoration

  Research Group: Applied Ecology Research Group (AERG)
Research Group. Applied Ecology Research Group. (AERG). Proposed supervisory team. Dr Alvin Helden. Several other members of Biology staff with interest in this subject area could be part of the team e.g.,. Read more

Social impacts of decision-making processes under wildlife conservation conflicts in Scotland

  Research Group: Applied Ecology Research Group (AERG)
Research Group. Applied Ecology Research Group. (AERG). Proposed supervisory team. Dr Helen Wheeler. (AERG, Anglia Ruskin University). Read more

Identifying policy barriers to the uptake of rewilding – a social-ecological approach

  Research Group: Applied Ecology Research Group (AERG)
Research Group. Applied Ecology Research Group.  (AERG). Proposed supervisory team. Dr Helen Wheeler.  (AERG, Anglia Ruskin University). Read more

Consequences of biases in representation of drivers of change in evidence synthesis for environmental decision-making and stewardship

  Research Group: Applied Ecology Research Group (AERG)
Research Group. Applied Ecology Research Group. (AERG). Proposed supervisory team. Dr Helen Wheeler. Dr Fiona Danks (World Conservation Monitoring Centre). Read more

Interactions between introduced tree species and native mycorrhizal fungi in the UK

Mycorrhizal symbioses are one of the most extensive and important biotic interactions in terrestrial ecosystems, typically providing plants with improved access to nutrients in exchange for carbohydrates produced via photosynthesis. Read more

Ecology and behaviour of urban wildlife

The construction and development of urban areas is a relatively recent phenomenon. Urbanisation does, however, impose a range of advantages and disadvantages for biological organisms and which can bring them into conflict with humans. Read more

Mine site restoration and ecosystem development

This project will include various aspect of minesite rehabilitation including early development of terrestrial ecosystems and the nutritional constraints to ecosystem development (plants and soil biota) using a space-for-time substiution appraoch. Read more

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