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Ecology PhD Research Projects

We have 29 Ecology PhD Research Projects



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We have 29 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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Harnessing the social transmission of microbiota to improve health and immunity

Commercial partner: . Reckitt UK. , Slough. Social transmission of disease-causing microbes has long been recognised, and person-to-person social contact has recently attracted much negative societal attention for its role in spreading disadvantageous microbes during the COVID19 pandemic. Read more

The Roadmap of Human Pluripotency, Living Systems Institute – PhD

In the early mammalian embryo a group of cells form that have the special property of pluripotency. Pluripotency is the developmental potential of a cell to generate the founder lineages of the embryo. Read more
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ABOUT THE PROJECT. The Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment (HIE) is offering a research scholarship to a highly motivated PhD candidate to join a newly funded ARC Research Hub on Nutrients in a Circular Economy (NiCE). Read more
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Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) PhD Studentship - Biological Sciences

A fantastic opportunity to study for a 3-year funded doctorate whilst gaining valuable teaching experience. All advertised projects for this research area can be found . Read more
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Elucidating the ecological niche and the current and future distribution of Vulpia myuros, a new weed in reduced tillage agriculture

Vulpia myuros (rattail fescue) is an annual grass species with almost worldwide presence. In recent years, V. myuroshas been increasingly observed as a weed in arable crops in Europe and northern America, in particular in crops under reduced tillage practices. Read more
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Academic Freedom Supporting Science and the Public Good

The School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at the University of New England, Armidale NSW, is offering a unique and exciting opportunity for a motivated Domestic PhD candidate. Read more
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Using Sound to Monitor Wildlife

Automated monitoring is an important aspect of future approaches to biodiversity preservation. You could be at the forefront of this new wave of conservation biologists by engaging in a PhD using automated methods to monitor wildlife. Read more
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Behavioural adaptation to climate change in birds

It has been suggested that social species have evolved in harsh environmental conditions, allowing for successful reproduction and survival in environments where pairs alone cannot succeed. Read more

Geological Fate and Impact of Isosaccharinic acid (Geo-FISA)

About the Project. The nuclear fuel cycle has generated higher-level radioactive wastes that will be disposed of in a deep geological facility (GDF) that will provide multiple barriers to the migration of radionuclides to the surface over prolonged timescales (tens of thousands of years). Read more

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