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  How do environmental cues affect reproduction?

   Faculty of Biological Sciences

  ,  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

This project is available to self funded candidates only

The School of Biology invites applications from prospective postgraduate researchers who wish to commence study for a PhD in the academic year 2024/25.

This opportunity is open to candidates who have the means to self fund their studies or who have a sponsor who will cover this cost. We especially welcome applications that connect to the School's core research areas.

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.


Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline.

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)
  • Evidence of funding

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

  • Select PhD in Biological Sciences as your programme of study
  • Give the full project title and name the supervisors listed in this advert

For information about the application process please contact the Faculty Admissions Team:


Biological Sciences (4)

Funding Notes

This project is open to applicants who have the funding to support their own studies or who have a sponsor who will cover these costs.

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