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Resilient treescapes for a changing climate: a mathematical approach (OP2235)

   Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering

   Monday, January 24, 2022  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Newcastle United Kingdom Bioinformatics Climate Science Data Analysis Mathematical Modelling Computer Science Mathematics

About the Project

Project Description: Native trees are under constant threat from alien pests and diseases, as exemplified by recent outbreaks affecting ash and sweet chestnut trees. Such outbreaks have massive social and economic impacts and motivate the need to sustain their existence through suitable planning and management. Climate change exacerbates this threat by promoting the migration, survival and growth of alien pathogens. The Department for Environmental, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has highlighted the importance of modelling in developing robust plans and management policies for minimising the impacts of these threats. 

The project aims to identify practical strategies to build resilience to tree disease outbreaks in the face of climate change. We will develop spatio-temporal models of disease spread, based upon national tree maps (see image), field data, and projected changes in pathogen transmission over the next decade. This approach will be applied to existing pests/diseases and hypothetical future pathogens and will incorporate effects such as seasonal weather patterns, year-on-year climate trends (following the latest projection scenarios from the IPCC) and regional variability.   Importantly, we will use the model to test the effectiveness of a variety of scenarios designed to build resilience against outbreaks of tree disease. The project will take place within the Mathematical Biology and Archaeology Research group, and make use of Newcastle University’s state-of-the-art high-performance computing facilities. It will be performed in collaboration with Defra, giving the student direct experience of working with government policymakers, and will support Defra’s national strategies for mitigating the effects of alien tree pathogens.

Funding Notes

This project is part of the NERC ONE Planet DTP. Each of our studentship awards include 3.5 years of fees (Home/EU), an annual living allowance (£15,650) and a Research Training Support Grant (for travel, consumables, etc).
Home and International applicants (inc. EU) are welcome to apply. Following the UKRI announcement regarding their new 30% UKRI international recruitment policy (to take effect from September 2021) both Newcastle University, and Northumbria University, have agreed to pay the international fee difference for all International applicants (inc. EU) who are awarded a DTP studentship. Interviews will take place in February 2022.
How to apply: View Website

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