As many as one sixth of species are facing global extinction from climate change this century, one of the greatest threats to biodiversity in the Anthropocene. Translocation, introductions and re-introductions of wildlife are increasingly promoted for conserving such species, but they remain relatively untested at the landscape scale
The small blue butterfly is a charismatic, warmth-loving butterfly of early-successional habitats, and a UK Biodiversity Action Plan species. Research suggests that its dispersal ability is poor. Unable to successfully range shift by natural means, the butterfly represents an ideal candidate species for targeted introductions beyond its existing geographic range.The small blue occurs just over the Scottish Border along the Berwickshire coast and its absence from Northumberland is a mystery. Small blues live in colonies, their main requirement being the caterpillars’ foodplant Kidney Vetch. This plant is common along the Northumberland coast. Working with the Northumberland Wildlife Trust (NWT) , this project will assess the potential for an introduction of the small blue butterfly at Druridge Bay.
Existing metapopulations of the butterfly in the Northern Britain will be identified. Second, landscale-scale spatial analysis of fine-scale habitat and microclimate conditions will determine the extent to which these requirements are available at Druridge. Third, in partnership with NWT and Butterfly Conservation, a detailed introduction plan for this species will be devised, with a view to establishing a viable metapopulation of small blue in coastal Northumberland. This project will inform transformational change approaches now urgently required to avert the extinction crisis.
This research project would ideally suit a candidate with a strong background in ecology and conservation. Knowledge of statistical, population or spatial modelling methods would also be advantageous.
For more information, please contact Mike Jeffries ([email protected]
Eligibility and How to Apply:
Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.
Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. OP.....) will not be considered.
Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.
We have a minimum of 12 (3.5 year) PhD fully funded studentship awards available for October 2020 entry. Each award includes fees (Home / EU), an annual living allowance (for 2019/20 this is £15,009) and a Research Training Support Grant (for travel, consumables, as required).