About the Project
We will survey invertebrate communities in field sites across the UK using standardised collection methods, such as flight interception traps, pitfalls, or suction sampling within both the crop and the tree rows. Additional ecosystem functions can also be assessed using rapid ecosystem assessment methods, such as artificial prey removal or predator marks on plasticine caterpillars to estimate predation rates. We can test specific interactions (e.g. competition effects) under controlled conditions in our greenhouse or growth chamber space. Also, in collaboration with project partners at Fera Science, we will explore how to incorporate the project outcomes into decision-making tools for farmers and policy-makers.
The ideal candidate will be enthusiastic about working outside, be able to identify common invertebrates, and have an interest in agricultural policy. Training will be provided in experimental design, data collection and statistical analysis using R, and invertebrate identification including using molecular methods for cryptic species.
HOW TO APPLY
Notes and how to apply are available here: https://acce.shef.ac.uk/phd-opportunities-at-liverpool/
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.
Zytynska, S.E. & Meyer, S.T. (2019) Effects of biodiversity in agricultural landscapes on the protective microbiome of insects - a review. Entomologia Experimentalis Et Applicata, 167, 2-13.
Senft, M., Clancy, M.V., Weisser, W.W., Schnitzler, J.-P. & Zytynska, S.E. (2019) Additive effects of plant chemotype, mutualistic ants and predators on aphid performance and survival. Functional Ecology, 33, 139-151.
Singh, A., Weisser, W.W., Hanna, R., Houmgny, R. & Zytynska, S.E. (2017) Reduce pests, enhance production: benefits of intercropping at high densities for okra farmers in Cameroon. Pest Manag Sci, 73, 2017-2027.
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