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The impact of changes in river flow regime on the behaviour and population ecology of dippers, a riparian bird and bioindicator

  • Full or part time

    Dr D Whyatt
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, March 29, 2019
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Freshwater ecosystems provide crucial ecosystem services and support exceptional biodiversity. However, rivers are highly influenced by environmental change and are among the most threatened of all ecosystems. Predicting how riparian wildlife populations respond to these pressures is therefore a crucial challenge in conservation. In the UK, many river birds are in decline despite huge improvements in water quality. The dipper (Cinclus cinclus) is a well-established indicator of the quality of riverine ecosystems, and its strictly aquatic lifestyle and diet make this species sensitive to the shifts in flow regimes predicted by climate change models. This PhD will combine fieldwork in the spectacular Yorkshire Dales with analysis of long-term data from an established project to investigate the impact of flow regime on the behaviour, ecology and conservation of these charismatic birds. The student will join an established research team and benefit from specialised training in ornithological fieldwork, GIS and statistical modelling.

Funding Notes

We are looking for applicants with a strong interest in avian ecology and a willingness to collect data in the field and analyse existing data sets. Applicants must hold a minimum of a UK Honours degree at 2:1 level (or equivalent) in a relevant discipline and a valid driving licence. Experience with research on birds or GIS is advantageous but full training will be provided.

Full studentships (UK/EU tuition fees and stipend (£15,009 2019/20 [tax free])) for UK/EU students for 3.5 years. Unfortunately funding is not available for International (non EU) students.

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