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Assessing the importance of landscape configuration and functional links to inform the conservation of a red-listed bird species

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  • Full or part time
    Dr R Stillman
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Food or habitat specialists are more susceptible to environmental change than generalists. Wading bird species have evolved to be highly selective about the prey they exploit as food and the locations in which they breed. Consequently, their populations across Europe have suffered severe, widespread declines during the last 50 years owing to agricultural intensification and the creation of landscapes supporting higher densities of generalist predators.

The Eurasian curlew has undergone a 49% decline in numbers in the UK in the last 25 years. It could, arguably, be the UK’s most pressing bird conservation priority given its global status (Near Threatened), the global significance of the UK breeding population and the rapid decline in the UK population.

The demographic driver of curlew decline is low productivity and a few studies have documented high rates of nest predation. However, there are many knowledge gaps that need to be filled before an effective recovery plan can be implemented.

Project objectives are as follows. 1. Identify functional links between breeding and foraging sites. 2. Determine the importance of landscape and habitat quality on nest survival. 3. Assess the response to human and predator disturbance. 4. Assess factors influencing brood ranges and chick survival. Outputs will comprise conference presentations, papers in journals on animal behaviour and ecology and applied ecology, and reporting to the National Curlew Forum.

How to apply:

Applications are made via our website using the Apply Online button below. If you have an enquiry about this project please contact us via the Email NOW button below, however your application will only be processed once you have submitted an application form as opposed to emailing your CV to us.

The PhD Studentships are open to UK, EU and International students. Candidates for a PhD Studentship should demonstrate outstanding qualities and be motivated to complete a PhD in 3 years and must demonstrate:

• outstanding academic potential as measured by either a 1st class honours degree or a Master’s degree with distinction or equivalent Grade Point Average (GPA)
• an IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 minimum (with a minimum 6.0 in each component) for candidates for whom English is not their first language and this must be evidenced at point of application.

In addition to satisfying minimum entry criteria, BU will look closely at the qualities, skills and background of each candidate and what they can bring to their chosen research project in order to ensure successful completion.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Driving licence

Funding Notes

Funded candidates will receive a maintenance grant of £15,000 per year to contribute towards living expenses during the course of your research, as well as a fee waiver for 36 months.

Funded Studentships are open to both UK/EU and International students unless otherwise specified.

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