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PhD in Plant Environmental Physiology

Department of Animal and Plant Sciences

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Prof C P Osborne Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

We invite applications for a PhD in the area of plant environmental physiology. Our research uses experiments with wild plants and field studies to address a range of questions about the biology of C 4 plants and savanna ecosystems.

The C4 pathway is a fuel injection system for photosynthesis that increases the rate of leaf sugar production in hot climates. Our research investigates how C 4 photosynthesis changed the biology of plants, and the ecological roles these C4 species play in savanna ecosystems.

Current research aims are:
1) To understand how C4 photosynthesis influences plant growth, allocation, storage and survival;
2) To evaluate the mechanisms adopted by tropical C4 species as low temperature adaptations, enabling them to colonize colder climates;
3) To determine the characteristics of C 4 grasses that enable them to dominate ecosystems and reconstruct the evolutionary history of these plant traits;
4) To understand how ecological processes and global environmental change influence tree recruitment into savanna grass communities.

The research encompasses aspects of plant sciences, ecophysiology, ecology and biogeography. We invite applications from candidates with interests in any of these research areas.

We are a welcoming, international lab group, with current and past students from China, USA, Thailand, South Africa, India, Philippines, India and the UK. Students can gain experience in a broad range of skills in plant and ecological sciences, working in the field or state-of-the-art controlled environment growth facilities, and with access to equipment for non-invasive measurements of photosynthesis and growth (gas exchange analysis, chlorophyll fluorescence, spectroscopy, growth phenotyping), and metabolite analyses (chromatography, mass spectrometry).

You can find further information about the group’s work and publications at Enquiries should be directed to Colin Osborne [Email Address Removed].

Science Graduate School
As a PhD student in one of the science departments at the University of Sheffield, you’ll be part of the Science Graduate School. You’ll get access to training opportunities designed to support your career development by helping you gain professional skills that are essential in all areas of science. You’ll 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

The applicant will need to find 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

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