Project Description: Accelerating climate change is exacerbating the extinction crisis, and one sixth of species now face global extinction by the end of the century. Successful adaptation to climate change will require the identification and testing of measures that can either facilitate the movement of species polewards, or that can increase the likelihood of species persistences in situ, or both.
This project will investigate the potential for refugia to buffer species from climate change in the rugged upland terrain of the England-Scotland Border Country. Palaeoecological evidence suggests that this region provided an important buffer for cold-dwelling species during warmer episodes of the past. Working with partners at the Northumberland Wildlife Trust, a conservation charity, the successful candidate will study the refugia potential of the Kielderhead Wildwood Project, a new ecological restoration project in Northern Britain. Extending over as much as 435ha, the project represents one of the largest attempts to restore forest to the uplands of the UK, and offers the perfect opportunity to study the multiple characteristics of refugia- terrain, vegetation, moisture regime- in one landscape.
The succesful candidate will be trained to use a mix of the latest field-, desk- and data-analytic techniques to study the effects of restoration on the cold- and wet-dwelling flora and fauna that stand to benefit most. As habitat quality improves and a diversity of microclimates is established, field study data and high resolution spatial analysis will simultaneously assess the microclimatic buffering potential of rugged terrain, of high altitude, and of the vegetation canopy on one site, for the first time. The results will feed into local, national and international efforts to help wild species adapt to climate change.
Prerequisites: The project is suitable for those with a BSc or MSc in Ecology, Environmental Science, Geography or allied discipline. Experience with R, spatial analysis, statistics or fieldwork would be advantageous.
For more information, contact Dr Andy Suggitt ([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.