About the Project
The overarching aim of this project is to shed new light on how logging and drought impact the regeneration of tropical rainforests. Working in Malaysian Borneo, the candidate will use a combination of field experiments and long-term observational data to address a number of key questions about the resilience of human-modified tropical rainforests to climate change:
How do tree seedling responses to drought vary between logged and old-growth forests?
What plant characteristics best predict the ability of tree seedlings to cope with both logging and drought?
How do soil microorganisms (particularly fungi) mediate tree seedling responses to drought and how does logging affect these belowground communities?
Within the broader remit of the project, prospective candidates will be encouraged to take an active role in shaping the exact direction and nature of the research to best suit their skills and interests. The project will leverage data and infrastructure from several recent NERC-funded projects in the region led by members of the supervisory team. The student will therefore be embedded in larger collaborative network of researchers based in the UK and beyond. This will allow them to draw on a wider range of expertise and will help fast-track the development of their own research network.
This project will involve extended periods of fieldwork in tropical forests in Borneo together with an experienced research team. Depending on the exact questions which the student will decide to focus their project on, training will include measuring plant growth and functional traits, soil eDNA sequencing and bioinformatics, as well as statistical modelling.
The ideal candidate will have:
A BSc and/or MSc degree in biology, geography or physical sciences, preferably relating to plant sciences and ecology.
Be willing to coordinate and undertake prolonged fieldwork campaigns in tropical forests.
Have or demonstrate the eagerness to learn strong analytical and computational skills.
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