Red grouse sport shooting is regularly practiced on moorlands. Man-made chemicals have been used increasingly on grouse moors since the mid-1980s to maintain grouse populations because parasitic nematode worms (Trichostrongylus tenuis) reduce both breeding success and adult survival. The use of grit containing the anthelmintic (worming) chemical flubendazole is widespread (Ceballos et al., 2012) and its addition to moorlands for grouse to eat may release flubendazole into the environment as could excretion of unabsorbed residues by the birds; 50 % of the administered dose is excreted unchanged (Kreuzig et al., 2007; Weiss et al., 2008). The impacts on the environment are currently unstudied (Watson and Moss, 2008). This project will provide a robust dataset describing the presence and fate of flubendazole in moorland catchments. Only a few previous studies have attempted to measure flubendazole in the environment (e.g. Kreuzig et al., 2007) and none of these have dealt with organic-rich moorland soils and water which pose particular analytical challenges given that the peat and organomineral soils found on moorlands are excellent adsorbents of organic compounds. The overall aim of the project is to understand whether the use of flubendazole to medicate grouse (and livestock) in moorland catchments is leading to the presence of this emerging pollutant in soil and water. The specific objectives are to: 1. Improve the analysis of flubendazole in moorland soils and water using molecularly imprinted polymers 2. Measure the occurrence of flubendazole in moorland soils and water 3. Determine the fate of flubendazole in moorland catchments.
Entry requirements: Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. The criteria for entry for some research degrees may be higher, for example, several faculties, also require a Masters degree.
This 3.5 years award from the Game and Wildlife Conservancy Trust will provide tuition fees (£4,500 for 2019/20), tax-free stipend at the UK research council rate (£15,009 for 2019/20), and a research training and support grant of £12,000.