About the Project
Theory of what gives rise to the structure, dynamics and diversity of real communities focuses on foraging behaviour and body size. The PhD will work with this advanced theory to address several questions including (but not limited to):
(1) can we develop models to better predict food web stability, diversity and complexity when there are species that eat thing bigger, rather than smaller than them (like parasites)?;
(2) can we conduct computer-based experiments to predict how multiple, simultaneous aspects of climate change influence the stability, diversity and complexity of communities?;
(3) what are the determinants of robustness to extinction?;
(4) can we reconcile food web models that focus on species with other types of models that focus on size?
The post would suit a motivated student interested in food web ecology, networks, species interactions and climate change with experience with and/or enthusiasm for mathematical modelling and computer based work, using R and Julia. Extensive training will be provided.
Science Graduate School
As a PhD student in one of the science departments at the University of Sheffield, you’ll be part of the Science Graduate School. You’ll get access to training opportunities designed to support your career development by helping you gain professional skills that are essential in all areas of science. You’ll be able to learn how to recognise good research and research behaviour, improve your communication abilities and experience the breadth of technologies that are used in academia, industry and many related careers. Visit http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/sgs to learn more.
This PhD project is part of the NERC funded Doctoral Training Partnership “ACCE” (Adapting to the Challenges of a Changing Environment https://acce.shef.ac.uk/. ACCE is a partnership between the Universities of Sheffield, Liverpool, York, CEH, and NHM.
Shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview to take place in the w/c 10th February 2020.
Beckerman, A. P., et al. (2006). ""Foraging biology predicts food web complexity."" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 103: 13745-13749.
Petchey, O. L., et al. (2008). ""Size, foraging, and food web structure."" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105: 4191-4196.
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