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Drivers of tropical freshwater biodiversity: a DNA metabarcoding approach

Project Description

We are looking for a versatile student with a keen interest in tropical freshwater ecology and conservation, and willing to undertake exciting molecular analyses to define biodiversity. This project will assess the patterns and drivers of freshwater invertebrate diversity in a Bornean river basin. This will be done by combining methods from hydro-ecology, molecular ecology (including DNA metabarcoding) and geospatial modelling. The supervisory team is composed of experts from each of these fields who are based at the Universities of Nottingham and Bangor, and the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak. Knowledge gained from the project will provide an evidence base for developing policies to mitigate anthropogenic threats to tropical freshwater biodiversity and services.

The student will be willing to travel and work in Borneo for extended periods (at least twice, for up to two months each). The student will receive training in a wide range of methods, including tropical aquatic fieldwork, freshwater invertebrate sampling and identification, molecular laboratory techniques, sequence analysis and species distribution modelling.

Programming (ideally in R), ecological field experience/freshwater invertebrate identification, database management, statistical analysis/GIS skills or bioinformatic skills are assets, but enthusiasm for nature, curiosity about the impact of environmental change on ecosystems and willingness to take opportunities are the most important requirements.

The successful applicant will hold a minimum of a UK Honours Degree at 2:1 level in a relevant subject area including Environmental Science, Natural Science, Bioscience, Bioinformatics, Physical Geography or Geosciences. Fieldwork experience is strongly desired. Experience in molecular laboratory work and/or GIS is an asset.

The project may be undertaken on either a full- or part-time basis.

For further information about the studentship please e-mail Alexandra Zieritz .

Funding Notes

The studentship is only available to applicants from the UK and EU.

Each student will be supported by the tax-free stipend (£15,009 in 2019/20), typically for 3.5 years. In addition, for eligible students, the award will cover EU/UK fees.

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