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Chemical pollution and biodiversity: assessing risk to ecosystem services.

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  • Full or part time
    Prof L L Maltby
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

Project Description

Chemicals are a critical part of modern life and a cornerstone of any modern industrial strategy. However, chemicals released into the environment can have adverse effects on biodiversity and the benefits it provide to people (i.e. ecosystem goods and services). Current regulatory approaches largely fail to provide the scientifically robust evidence that is required to optimise the trade-off between societal benefits and environmental impacts of chemical use. This is because the tools needed to assess the risks of chemicals and other stressors to ecosystem functions and the ecosystem services we wish to protect, do not exist. Most regulatory toxicity studies measure the effect of chemicals on individual organisms and do not consider impacts on higher levels of biological organisation and ecosystem services. The aim of this project is to use ecological understanding and modelling to develop approaches for extrapolating from individual-level measurement endpoints derived in toxicity tests to potential risk to ecosystem functions and the services they deliver.
The project will focus on the ecosystem service of recreational freshwater fishery and will combine experimental studies with modelling approaches. In particular, individual-based energy budget models will be developed to link chemical-induced changes in the feeding biology of invertebrate prey species to changes in fish populations. Applications from students with a strong background in biology or environmental science are welcome.

Science Graduate School
As a PhD student in one of the science departments at the University of Sheffield, you’ll be part of the Science Graduate School. You’ll get access to training opportunities designed to support your career development by helping you gain professional skills that are essential in all areas of science. You’ll be able to learn how to recognise good research and research behaviour, improve your communication abilities and experience the breadth of technologies that are used in academia, industry and many related careers. Visit to learn more

Funding Notes

The applicant will need to find funding to cover tuition fees and living expenses

The applicant should have, or expect to gain at least an upper second class degree, or equivalent overseas qualification, in a relevant subject

How good is research at University of Sheffield in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 44.90

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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