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ACCE DTP project: Examining climate change impacts on tropical montane butterflies


Department of Biology

York United Kingdom Ecology Zoology

About the Project

Climate change is causing many species to shift their ranges. Tropical rainforest species are shifting uphill to track climate, potentially causing the extinction of montane species and leading to loss of diversity in lowland areas if there is no pool of hotter-adapted species available to colonise these sites. However, studies are lacking and so impacts of climate are hard to predict. This project will capitalise on museum specimens for understanding long-term changes in tropical ecosystems.

The project will focus on Sulawesi, Indonesia, which has been well-studied ever since Alfred Russel Wallace visited in the 19th century. Approximately 40% of butterflies are endemic, and the project will use museum specimens, along with climate and land-cover information to: (1) quantify patterns of range shift over time and project future distributions; (2) determine changes in species richness, and whether changes are greatest where climate changes most; and (3) examine changes in body size and wing morphology over time.

Rapid climate change together with rainforest loss makes it vital to understand effects on tropical biodiversity. The project will suit someone interested in tropical ecology and will involve digitising museum specimens and using novel modelling and analytical methods to examine range shifting. There will be opportunities for field work and the student will be part of a friendly and collaborative research group within the Leverhulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity.

The ACCE DTP is committed to recruiting future scientists regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation or career pathway to date. We understand that commitment and excellence can be shown in many ways and we have built our recruitment process to reflect this. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds, particularly those underrepresented in science, who have curiosity, creativity and a drive to learn new skills.

Funding Notes

This project is part of the NERC ACCE Doctoral Training Programme. Appointed candidates will be fully-funded for 3.5 years. The funding includes:

Tax-free annual UKRI stipend (£15,285 for 2020/21)
UK tuition fees (£4,473 for 2021/22)
Research support and training charges (RSTC)

International candidates (including EU) will be considered however they will need to have adequate funds to meet the difference in tuition fees. International tuition fees for 2021 entry is £22,250.

Not all projects will be funded; a limited number of candidates will be appointed via a competitive process.

References

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: Students with, or expecting to gain, at least an upper second class honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply. The interdisciplinary nature of this programme means that we welcome applications from students with backgrounds in any biological, chemical, and/or physical science, or students with mathematical backgrounds who are interested in using their skills in addressing ecology and evolution questions. If English is not your first language, you will need to meet the minimum entry requirements for your country. Please check our website https://www.york.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/apply/international/english/

START DATE: 1st October 2021

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