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Investigation of the limits of niche specialisation and plasticity in the rumen microbiome

Project Description

The rumen microbiome is a highly complex community that it characterised by intensive competition for access to the nutrient-rich biomass consumed by the host. Recent work by the supervisory team have identified the enzyme haplotypes (such as glycosyl hydrolases) important for the organisms to compete for their niche and the compounds (such as anti-microbials) they use to “cheat” in order to gain an advantage in this system. It is likely that a complex dynamic exists between “competitors” and a “cheaters” in this environment and that some organisms may switch between one or the other depending on the situation. However, this has never previously been investigated. This project will address this gap in our knowledge by using a multi-disciplinary approach to identify the impact of compounds used for competing or cheating in the rumen microbiome. This hypothesis-driven project will provide a step change in our understanding of microbially-driven ecological interactions within the rumen microbiome. The student will join the Huws lab in the School of Biological Sciences/Institute for Global Food Security, Queen’s University Belfast and will gain experience in microbial ecology techniques coupled with ‘omic technologies.

This project will be supervised by Professor Sharon Huws and Professor Chris Creevey (Queen’s University School of Biological Sciences) and Professor Itzik Mizrahi (Ben-Gurion University, Israel).

Start Date: 1 October 2020
Duration: 3.5 years

Funding Notes

The studentship will be funded by the Department for the Economy (DfE). Please read the full information on eligibility criteria: View Website

However, there may be flexibility to fund a small number of exceptional International applicants.

How good is research at Queen’s University Belfast in Agriculture, Veterinary and Food Science?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 33.40

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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