About the Project
The project is a CASE studentship in collaboration with the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) in Northern Ireland and will experimentally quantify and assess the relative merits of different measures of ecological resilience (Holling 1973) and multiple measures of ecological stability (Donohue et al. 2013).
This project, therefore, offers the opportunity to evaluate the mechanisms that underpin variation in ecological stability and will attempt to quantify empirically species-specific contributions to multiple measures of stability including variability, resistance and recovery (engineering resilience). Emphasis will be placed on freshwater invertebrate and benthic biofilm community structure, with a focus on quantifying species interactions, and both functional (e.g. body mass, trophic level and trophic role) and structural properties (e.g. abundances and richness) to support a fundamental exploration of different stability concepts and their relevance in applied management.
The overall aim is to assess the relative value and efficiency of the implementation of these different approaches in the context of river ecosystem conservation and wider catchment management. The project will involve a mixture of experiments and survey work with access to multiple river catchment research platforms across NI maintained by AFBI.
The successful candidate will be based at Queen’s University Belfast and will spend between 3 and 18 months embedded with the CASE partner AFBI at their Newforge site in Belfast. The successful candidate will receive training in freshwater invertebrate and diatom sampling and identification, experimental design and statistical analysis as well as food web modelling with potential for exploring the application of new efficient techniques, such as environmental DNA, for large-scale monitoring of ecosystem resilience and ecological function. It is expected that the outcomes of this study will directly support the development of more evidence-based ecological prediction and management of river ecosystems and the wider catchment.
More project details are available here: https://www.quadrat.ac.uk/projects/quantifying-the-resilience-and-functioning-of-lotic-ecosystems-across-spatial-and-temporal-gradients-of-environmental-stress-case/
How to apply: https://www.quadrat.ac.uk/how-to-apply/
Note that applications should NOT be submitted directly to Queen’s.
Before applying please check full funding and eligibility information: View Website
Hillebrand et al. (2020) Thresholds for ecological responses to global change do not emerge from empirical data. Nature Ecology & Evolution. Online early. Full text available at https://rdcu.be/b6jI8
Holling (1973) Resilience and stability of ecological systems. Ann. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 4: 1-23.
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