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Bridging the gap between conservation genetics and red squirrel conservation management

  • Full or part time
    Dr D O'Meara
    Prof David Tosh
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, April 26, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Post summary

It has recently has been shown that the pine marten (Martes martes) suppresses the invasive grey squirrel populations while positively supporting the native red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) numbers. Due to pine marten translocations to areas where grey squirrels are currently present, it is likely that there will be an increase in future red squirrel reinforcement projects in both Britain and Ireland. The aim of this project will be to demonstrate how conservation genetics can be applied to support and inform practical management decisions for the long-term survival and management of red squirrel populations. The study will demonstrate how genetic tools can be used to assess remnant populations prior to population reinforcement to find genetically compatible red squirrels to avoid risks such as inbreeding, outbreeding and disease while demonstrating sensitivity to the conservation of the genetic heritage of the species. The application of the techniques will be demonstrated through the genetic assessment of a translocation project in the West of Ireland, current conservation and reinforcement projects and historical red squirrel samples. All samples will be screened for the presence of the emerging disease, Adenovirus, and associations between the genetic data and animal health will be investigated. The post will involve Field Ecology and lab based Molecular Ecology. The candidate will be jointly supervised by supervisors in Waterford IT and NUI Galway.

Funding Notes

This is a 4 year full-time structured PhD programme

Stipend: €12,000 p/a
Fees: €4,500 p/a
Research costs: €2,000 p/a

For any informal queries, please contact Denise O’Meara by email on

Application procedure

Please download the Research Postgraduate Application Form from the WIT Website and return completed applications to quoting WIT_PhD_2019_014 in the email subject line. Please note that paper submissions will not be accepted.

Any queries relating to the application process should be emailed to

For further information on this scholarship and how to apply, please visit View Website

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