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How do environmental cues affect reproduction?

   Faculty of Biological Sciences

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  Dr E.J.. Duncan, Dr A Bretman  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

One of the ways that insects, and other animals, cope with changing or adverse conditions is by pausing reproduction. We know a lot about how this process works in the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) but our knowledge in other species is almost completely lacking (Knapp et al., 2022). In this project we will use honeybees and bumblebees, which are globally crucial pollinator species, to determine how environmental cues control reproduction. Focusing on these species means this project will have real-world impact, specifically by determining how common chemicals used in agriculture (such as neonicotinoid pesticides) affect control of reproduction in these species.

 Aside from their role in pollination, both honeybees and bumble bees have incredibly interesting life-history strategies. They are eusocial, each colony has a single-reproductive female and this division of labour is enforced by pheromones as well as behaviour and colony dynamics. This project will determine if these environmental cues that are unique to eusocial species act through the conserved pathways that control reproduction in response to adverse environmental conditions, informing our understanding of how this unique and interesting life-history strategy evolved. 


You should hold a first degree equivalent to at least a UK upper-second class honours degree or a MSc degree in a relevant subject.

Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence that their English language is sufficient to meet the specific demands of their study. The Faculty of Biological Sciences minimum requirements in IELTS and TOEFL tests are:

  • British Council IELTS - score of 6.0 overall, with no element less than 5.5
  • TOEFL iBT - overall score of 87 with the listening and reading element no less than 20, writing element no less than 21 and the speaking element no less than 22.

How to apply:

To apply for this project applicants should complete an online application form and attach the following documentation to support their application. 

  • a full academic CV
  • degree certificate and transcripts of marks
  • Evidence that you meet the University's minimum English language requirements (if applicable).

To help us identify that you are applying for this studentship please ensure you provide the following information on your application form;

  • Select PhD in Biological Sciences as your programme of study
  • When asked for source of funding please make it clear that you are applying for a "White Rose BBSRC DTP Studentship"
  • Give the full project title and name the supervisors listed in this advert. You can be considered for up to 3 projects in total.

If you have any further queries regarding this opportunity, please contact [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

This opportunity is funded by the White Rose BBSRC DTP and will attract an annual tax-free stipend of £17,668 (based on the 2022/23 rate). The award will also cover academic fees. This opportunity is available to UK and International fee rated applicants. Please note that any expenses related to the relocation of international students to the UK (visa, insurance, NHS fees, flights, etc) would be their responsibility and are not covered by this award.

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