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Plant-insect interactions in a changing world

School of Biological Sciences

Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Insects associated with plants comprise one of the most diverse groups of species on earth. Their impact on the ecology and evolution of their host plants is widely recognised, as is their contribution to a number of important ecosystem functions. While concerns have been raised about recent declines of insect populations, the wider consequences of such declines are largely unknown. The student embarking on this project will investigate a) the responses of focal insect taxa or guilds to one or several driver(s) of environmental change (e.g. habitat modification, climate change), and b) the ecological and/or evolutionary consequences of such responses (e.g. changes in ecosystem functions delivered by insects or changes in the evolutionary trajectories of their host plants due to altered biotic selection pressures). The project offers possibilities for both field- and literature based studies. The project is suitable for students with an interest in insect or plant ecology: the exact details of the project will depend on the interests and expertise of the student. The project will be supervised by Dr Sofia Gripenberg who is a Royal Society Research Fellow at the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Reading. Her work focuses primarily on plant-enemy interactions in tropical and temperate forest systems, with a special focus on herbivorous insects.

For informal enquiries, please contact the project supervisor ().

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