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Landscape ecology and genetics of Bornean species inhabiting a fragmented landscape


   Cardiff School of Biosciences

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  Dr P Orozco Ter Wengel, Dr B Goossens  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The island of Borneo has some of the oldest rainforests in the world, however, that environment has become threatened by logging and its conversion to agriculture over the last 50-100 years. The Kinabatangan river in Sabah (Malaysian Borneo) is one of the oldest rivers in Borneo, and the forests along its margins have been largely converted into oil palm plantations. In 2005, Sabah State Government gazetted the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary (LKWS) which is under the jurisdiction of the Sabah Wildlife Department. For over a decade, the Danau Girang Field Centre has investigated the ecology of a range of species that occur along the LKWS. This has enabled the generation of detailed habitat analyses for species such as Asian elephants, saltwater crocodiles, proboscis monkeys etc. This data in combination with genetic data generated for some of these species has opened the doors to the development of a deeper understanding of the effect of habitat fragmentation on species inhabiting the LKWS and whose ecology varies significantly.

This project will use publicly available (and unpublished), spatial, genetic and genomic data generated for multiple species inhabiting the LKWS and will generate demographic models that explain species responses to habitat fragmentation. The goal of this approach is determining whether there are common response signals across species to fragmentation, or if these present species-specific responses that may reflect the different species’ ecologies. These analyses will also generate information about historic demographic processes that may have shaped the current distribution of genetic variation across these species (e.g. bottlenecks).

This project will use existing data and will require the application of population genetic approaches, spatial ecology and statistics to carry out the demographic modelling required. Knowledge of programming (R, python) is required as well as a basic level in population genetics.

Candidate requirements

A 1st or Upper 2nd class UK honours degree or equivalent. Please visit School of Biosciences Postgraduate Research for more details.

For those whose first language is not English, IELTS with an overall score of 6.5 with 5.5 in all subskills, or equivalent. Please see our English Language Requirements guidance for more details.

How to Apply 

To submit a formal application via Cardiff University’s online application service, click the 'Institution Website' button on this advert; in the ‘Apply’ box at the top-right of the page, select Qualification (Doctor of Philosophy), Mode of Study (Full Time) and Start Date (this can be flexible as it is a self-funded project). This will take you to the application portal.

Candidates must submit the following:

 • Supporting statement

 • CV

 • Qualification certificates

 • Proof of English language (if applicable) 

In the research proposal section of the application, specify the project title and supervisors of the project. In the funding section, specify that you will be self-funding. If you are applying for more than one Cardiff University project with the same entry intake, please note this in the research proposal section as the form only allows you to enter one title.


Funding Notes

There is no funding attached to this project, so students will need to source their own (tuition, bench fees if applicable, living fees if applicable).

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