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Role of functional composition in regime shifts

Biological Sciences

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Mr S Brooks , Prof C P Doncaster No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

The Natural History Museum is offering one joint PhD studentship with the University of Southampton, starting on 1 November 2014 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Applications are invited from suitably qualified graduates (first degree results at least 2:1) and the studentship is only open to those who qualify for ‘Home’ tuition fees (UK/EU residence).

Deadline for applications: 19 September 2014. See below for project details and application instructions.

Studentship details:

The student’s project will aim to identify taxon-specific ecological functions in long time-series provided by NHM on chironomids (from northern European, Siberian and Patagonian lakes spanning 15,000 years ) and on British butterflies (digitised NHM collection of 180,000 specimens spanning over 150 years supplemented by Butterfly Monitoring Scheme for post- 1970 data), and by Southampton on chironomids (from Chinese, Icelandic and Patagonian lakes) and on financial markets (using US banks, their profits and interactions as surrogates for species, their abundances and competitive impacts). The objective will be for the student to collate existing ecological information with our site-specific knowledge of the sequentially sampled environments, in order to identify functional groups such as canary, keystone, and weedy taxa (or their functional equivalents for banks). S/he will then analyse changes in the composition of such groups in healthy communities, and in communities approaching a tipping point into regime shift.

Full details can be found here:

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