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Award details Award details Nutrient impacts on reef endolithic communities and parrotfish feeding, Geography – MSc by Research (Part-Funded)

   College of Life and Environmental Sciences

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  Prof CT Perry, Dr Ines Lange  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project


Geography, Streatham Campus, Exeter

The University of Exeter’s College of Life and Environmental Sciences is inviting applications for a fees only MSc by Research studentship funded by the Bertarelli Foundation to commence 26 September 2022 or as soon as possible thereafter. For eligible students the studentship will cover Home tuition fees plus project costs for up to 2 years full-time, or pro rata for part-time study. The student would be based in Geography in the College of Life and Environmental Sciences at the Streatham Campus in Exeter.

Project Description:

Nutrients from seabirds nesting on oceanic reef islands have been shown to enhance the productivity and functioning of adjacent coral reefs, but the benefits of these natural nutrient subsidies can be lost where seabird populations are depleted e.g., due to invasive species pressures. Aligned to related work on the wider impacts of seabird-derived nutrients on reef carbonate production rates, this project will explore the implications for parrotfish feeding rates and substrate feeding preferences linked to differences in the nutritional quality of substrate food resources – specifically the composition and abundance of substrate endolithic microorganisms (as recently proposed by Nicholson & Clements, 2020). The project will involve working with both in-field collected fish data and/or video imagery from sites in the Seychelles to explore parrotfish feeding, as well as lab and microscopy work to examine endolithic communities associated with target substrate types.

This award provides annual funding to cover Home tuition fees and project costs. For students who pay Home tuition fees the award will cover the tuition fees in full. Students will need to cover their own living costs. Students who pay international tuition fees are eligible to apply, but should note that the award will only provide payment for part of the international tuition fee, and would need to cover their own living costs. International applicants also need to be aware that you will have to cover the cost of your student visa, healthcare surcharge and other costs of moving to the UK to do a MSc by Research.

The conditions for eligibility of home fees status are complex and you will need to seek advice if you have moved to or from the UK (or Republic of Ireland) within the past 3 years or have applied for settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Entry Requirements:

Applicants must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in a relevant field of study (Marine Biology or Ecology, or Marine Geoscience), have a strong interest in developing a coral reef facing research career, ideally have some in-water fieldwork experience (an existing SCUBA qualification would be especially beneficial), and have some taxonomic and microscopy experience.

If English is not your first language you will need to meet the required level (Profile B) as per our guidance at https://www.exeter.ac.uk/pg-research/apply/english/

How to apply

In the application process you will be asked to upload several documents. 

• CV

• Letter of application (outlining your prior research experience and reasons for wishing to undertake the project).

• Transcript(s) giving full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained (this should be an interim transcript if you are still studying)

• Names of two referees familiar with your academic work. You are not required to obtain references yourself. We will request references directly from your referees if you are shortlisted.

• If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need to submit evidence of your proficiency in English.

The closing date for applications is midnight on Monday 20th June 2022. 

Interviews will be held virtually / on the University of Exeter Streatham Campus in early to mid-July.

If you have any general enquiries about the application process please email [Email Address Removed] or phone 0300 555 60 60 (UK callers) +44 (0) 1392 723044 (EU/International callers) 

Project-specific queries should be directed to the main supervisor (Chris Perry: [Email Address Removed]).

Funding Notes

For eligible students the studentship will cover Home tuition fees plus project costs for up to 2 years full-time, or pro rata for part-time study
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