We seek a numerate, enthusiastic student with a passion for restoring woodland ecosystems and multi-disciplinary research. This project provides a unique opportunity to answer how an overlooked driver, surface-level ozone, influences above- and below-ground restoration trajectories of woodland plant communities. Through a combination of experimental approaches and cutting-edge analytical techniques, using tree communities with different functional traits, you will investigate how interacting stressors influence ecosystem restoration, from the individual plant level and epigenetic responses, to the community scale. You will focus on the crucial interactions of ozone pollution with other key components of global environmental change: drought and invasive species.
You will be based at UKCEH Bangor and Bangor University, joining a dynamic group of forest ecosystem, climate change and air pollution researchers, based in the Environment Centre Wales. You will make use of world-leading pollution control facilities, including a field-release ozone system and the solar domes (https://www.ceh.ac.uk/our-science/research-facilities/solardomes-and-ozone-field-release-system). The work includes relating detailed ecophysiological measures to more easily-quantified functional traits, and undertaking epigenetic analyses as part of an internship at the University of Birmingham. You will benefit from access to international networks such as TreeDivNet (www.treedivnet.ugent.be).
You will aim to answer the questions:
· Does ozone create greater divergence in initial woodland community restoration trajectories in the presence of additional stressors (drought, co-occurring weed species)?
· Can relationships among functional traits, ecophysiology and epigenetic mechanisms explain divergent restoration trajectories?
Providing answers is important for policy makers and restoration practitioners to scale-up ecological restoration to address biodiversity loss and threats from climate change. You will place ozone in its rightful place among the key factors influencing restoration trajectories, and provide critical guidance to restoration scientists, practitioners and policy makers in the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and beyond.
Enthusiastic and able graduates from a wide range of environmental, biological and geographical degree subjects are eligible for this project. If in doubt, get in touch for a chat. The PhD can be completed on a full- or part-time basis.
Enquiries Contact Laurence Jones , Andy Smith or Mike Perring (mikperATceh.ac.uk) for an informal chat and further information.
To apply for this project follow this link
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