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How does the provision of different ecosystem services interact? A multi-habitat approach across the rural-urban continuum in the UK


Faculty of Health and Life Science

About the Project

Background Ecosystem services (ES) are benefits provided by ecosystems to sustain wildlife and human well-being. Regulating, provisioning, supporting and cultural ES have been assessed locally but the functional relationship among them country-wide have received less academic attention, e.g., whether the presence or change in the natural capital that leads to the provision of one ES enhances or inhibits the provision of others and how this interaction changes spatially. This knowledge gap hampers our understanding of the drivers that control ES provisioning and limits our ability to optimize their provision in a world with increasing demands for ES. Objectives We will apply an integrative and multi-habitat approach to evaluate the functional relationship among different types of ES provided by old-growth forests, secondary forests, agrosystems, and urban green spaces. We will map the provision of ES across the rural-urban continuum for a range of locations in the UK to identify hotspots and coldspots of ES provision, identify their drivers, and to examine the impact that neighbouring habitats have in the provision of ES of focal habitats Novelty The interaction among ES will be quantified across the rural-urban continuum nationwide for the first time. We will simultaneously evaluate ES provided for nature (eg. amount of food resources provided to wildlife) and people (eg. air pollution removal) Timeliness Understanding how the interaction among ES varies spatially is crucial to manage biodiversity and optimize the benefits provided to society. By filling a conceptual and data gap, final results will be instrumental in designing green infrastructure connecting different types of habitats subjected to a variable level of anthropogenic impact. Equality and Diversity Issues (EDI) The host institution has the Athena SWAN Gold Award as recognition of its commitment to gender equality through the recruitment and proactive measures for training, mentoring and retaining female and BAME community. This is a collaboration project with industrial cosupervision provided by Dr Kevin Watts and Dr Kieron Doick of Forest Research: Great Britain’s principal organisation for forestry and tree-related research.

HOW TO APPLY

Notes and how to apply are available here: https://acce.shef.ac.uk/phd-opportunities-at-liverpool/

Funding Notes

NERC ACCE DTP in Ecology and Evolution, programme starts October 2021.

UKRI provide the following funding for 3.5 years:
• Stipend (2020/21 UKRI rate £15,285)
• Tuition Fees at UK fee rate (2020/21 rate £4,407)
• Research support and training grant (RTSG)

Note - UKRI funding only covers UK fees (£4,407 at 2020/2021 rate). A limited number of international fee bursaries will be awarded on a competitive basis. However, if selected International and EU fee rate candidates may need to cover the remaining amount of tuition fees by securing additional funding. International fees for 2020/21 entry were £23,650 per annum.

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