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PhD in Food Web Networks and Environmental Change: Exploring how natural and anthropogenic stress influence the structure and dynamics of communities.

   School of Biosciences

About the Project

The interactions among species define a food web network. In these networks, species have dynamics (e.g. numbers and biomass), the community has structure (e.g. diversity, body size distributions, and predator-prey body size ratios) and the community/ecosystem has function (productivity, fluxes). Predicting how communities of many species will respond to human and natural changes to the environment requires models and experiments that explore the response to multiple stressors at the species, community and ecosystem scales. Models and experiments dealing with multiple, simultaneous forms of stress have the best chance of helping solve global challenges linked to invasive species, habitat fragmentation, extinction, climate change and pollution.

A PhD student on this project will employ mathematical modelling, computational methods, statistical modelling and database sources of long term data to explore the effects of multiple environmental stressors on ecological communities. Students can focus on ecology, conservation or evolutionary biology.

Science Graduate School

As a PhD student in one of the science departments at the University of Sheffield, you will get access to training opportunities of the Science Graduate School designed to support your career development by helping you gain professional skills that are essential in all areas of science. You will be able to learn how to recognise good research and research behaviour, improve your communication abilities and experience the breadth of technologies that are used in academia, industry and many related careers. Visit to learn more.

Funding Notes

International applicants will need to obtain funding to cover tuition fees and living expenses. The applicant should have, or expect to gain at least an upper second class degree, or equivalent overseas qualification, in a relevant subject. Applications from students with a background in mathematics or the physical sciences interested in ecological modelling and systems biology are encouraged to apply.

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