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The impact of competition on global-change induced range shifts in birds

   Department of Biosciences

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  Dr J Drury, Dr S G Willis, Prof Kirsty Park  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Many species of birds are currently undergoing rapid range shifts in response to human-induced changes. As their ranges change, species encounter new species with which they hadn’t before coexisted. Such novel interactions could markedly impact the future distribution of biodiversity. This PhD project will fill crucial gaps in our understanding of the consequences of recent range dynamics, using long-term monitoring datasets and datasets collected by citizen scientists to identify the relative impact of different kinds of species interactions in determining the rate and/or outcome of recent range shifts.

The PhD student would gain a number of highly transferrable skills, such as computational techniques, data organisation and management, and coding in R. In addition, the studentship provides a number of training opportunities, including several skills workshops and an opportunity to accompany a surveying team tracking breeding birds in the UK.

Funding Notes

This project is in competition with others for funding. Success will depend on the quality of applications received, relative to those for competing projects. If you are interested in applying, in the first instance contact the supervisor, with a CV and covering letter, detailing your reasons for applying for the project. Applicants are encouraged to contact Dr. Drury by 15 December 2020 at the latest.

For further information on the IAPETUS scheme, and details of eligibility criteria & requirements please visit the IAPETUS website:


1 Stewart, P., Voskamp, A., Biber, M.F., Hof, C., Willis, S.G. and View Tobias, J.A. (2020) Global impacts of climate change on avian functional diversity. BioRiv: 2 Pigot, A.L., Jetz, W., Sheard, C. and Tobias, J.A., 2018. The macroecological dynamics of species coexistence in birds. Nature ecology & evolution, 2(7), pp.1112-1119. 3 Drury, J., Cowen, M., & Grether, G. 2020. Competition and hybridization drive interspecific territoriality in birds. PNAS. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1921380117 4 Cowen, M., Drury, J., & Grether, G. 2020. Multiple routes to interspecific territoriality in sister species of North American perching birds. Evolution. doi: 10.1111/evo.14068 Freeman, B.G., Tobias, J.A. and Schluter, D., 2019. Behavior influences range limits and patterns of coexistence across an elevational gradient in tropical birds. Ecography, 42(11), pp.1832-1840. Grether, G.F., Peiman, K.S., Tobias, J.A. and Robinson, B.W., 2017. Causes and consequences of behavioral interference between species. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 32(10), pp.760-772.
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