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Pears, pests and natural enemies: modelling tri-trophic interactions in a changing climate

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 31, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Climate influences the timing of key events including crop flowering and peak abundance and activity of crop pests and their natural enemies. As our climate changes, the timing and duration of these life-cycle events may be altered leading to ‘phenological mismatches’ which have consequences for sustainable crop production.

This PhD will explore the key threat of climate change effects on pest control identified by industry experts using pears as a model system. Using a combination of historic data, fieldwork and modelling techniques the studentship will assess the risks to future production and test the effectiveness of mitigation responses, specifically:

1. Quantifying temporal mismatches (if any) between existing fruit crops, their main pest and natural enemy populations.
2. Assess the likely risks to crop production modelled under varying climate scenarios.
3. Explore mitigation options to reduce production vulnerability under shifting pest regulation provision.

This funded project forms part of the Waitrose Collaborative Training Partnership (CTP) between the Waitrose Partnership, their international food production and supply companies, Lancaster University, the University of Reading, University of Warwick and Rothamsted Research. The CTP will deliver studentships on the themes of sustainable crop production, sustainable soil and water and biodiversity and ecosystem services in agriculture. This project is based at University of Reading.
Applicants should have the minimum of a UK Honours Degree at 2:1 level or equivalent in subjects such as Ecology, Agriculture or Biological Science and hold a full UK driving license (for visits to orchards). MSc in a relevant subject with experience of carrying out a short research project is desirable (not essential).
The student should have an interest in UK horticulture/agriculture and be comfortable with engaging with a broad range of industry (growers, agronomists, suppliers etc.) and scientific (national and international researchers, technicians and other students).

Funding Notes

Full studentships UK/EU tuition fees and stipend (£15,009 2019/2020 tax-free for 4 years for UK/EU students subject to eligibility criteria. Studentships are not available to non-UK/EU applicants.
A student must have:
Settled status in the UK, meaning they have no restrictions on how long they can stay And Been ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the grant. This means they must have been normally residing in the UK
And Not been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education. This does not apply to UK or EU nationals.

References

For further details please contact Dr. Deepa Senapathi – [email protected] or for application queries contact Roz Wareing, [email protected]

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