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Comparing navigation strategies in mantis shrimp and bull ants


   School of Biological Sciences

   Thursday, September 01, 2022  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Mantis shrimp (Stomatopoda) are marine crustaceans with extraordinary eyes, boasting up to 12 channels of colour sensitivity, 6 channels of polarization, and incredible ranges of eye movement. These colourful crustaceans are thought to use their remarkable vision for detecting prey, communicating with each other, and navigating around their home range. Bull ants are distantly related to stomatopods but show many similarities in how they navigate. For example, both these species are central place foragers and are known to make use of the polarization of light as a compass sense to find their way around. This PhD project will investigate how both mantis shrimp and bull ants detect polarization-based compass cues and compare how these distantly related species make use of it for navigation. 

The project will run as part of a cotutelle scheme, with the student splitting their time between the Ecology of Vision lab at Bristol and Dr Ajay Narendra's Ecological Neuroscience group at Macquarie University, Australia. The student will make use of established facilities and field sites at each location, and will employ anatomical, physiological, behavioural techniques to study these animals in the lab and in their natural environments. Applications are particularly encouraged from UK nationals, but international candidates may also be considered. Scuba diving experience would also be beneficial. Please contact Martin How for more details ().

Eligibility: The successful candidate must meet the admission requirements for the University of Bristol and the admission and scholarship requirements of Macquarie University. You should apply if you have, at least, an upper second-class honours degree (or equivalent) in biological sciences or related discipline. English language requirements may also apply. 

To apply: To apply for this Dual PhD programme with the University of Bristol & Macquarie University, it is necessary to submit an online application to both institutions. The programme Co-Supervisors at each institution will assess your application together to select the successful candidate.

For the University of Bristol:

Please use the link provided on this page to apply online:  PhD Biological Sciences | Study at Bristol | University of Bristol

Please choose the programme: Biological Sciences (Macquarie) (PhD).

When making your application, please indicate the supervisor name and the project title on the form.

Ensure you provide all supporting documents as per the programme admissions statement: phd-biological-sciences.pdf (bristol.ac.uk)   

For Macquarie University:

Please complete the MQ online application form for admission into the PhD program at MQ and the Cotutelle scholarship, following the information given on “How to apply for PhD and research degrees”: https://www.mq.edu.au/research/phd-and-research-degrees/how-to-apply .


Funding Notes

This studentship is a Dual PhD delivered in partnership with Macquarie University. It is co-funded through a Grant provided by EPSRC and the International Macquarie University Research Excellence Scholarship (iMQRES) Scheme. The PhD programme is funded for 3.5 years and it is a requirement of this funding that the successful candidate spends 21 months at each location, firstly in Bristol and then in Sydney. The studentship covers all tuition fees and stipend at both institutions, plus one economy, return, air fare to Sydney. For the period of study in Bristol, the stipend is provided at the UKRI minimum rate.

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