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Tracking the use of energy in insect flight

Project Description

Insects are amongst the most diverse, successful and economically important orders on earth and flight is key to their success. Flight is one of the most energetically expensive modes of locomotion and there are few aspects of an insect’s ecology, behaviour and physiology that are not affected by its energetic demands. During all modes of locomotion, muscles convert chemical energy (ultimately derived from food) into mechanical work that is ultimately transferred to the environment to produce movement. The energetic demands of flight in insects varies with body size and between different taxonomic groups. In order to understand this variation, the transfer of energy from the level of the muscle to the environment must be tracked, quantifying the losses at each stage of the process. In this project a range of state-of-the-art techniques (including respirometry, muscle physiology and high-speed imaging) will be used, providing an unprecedented understanding of energy expenditure in this diverse and ecologically important group.

Funding Notes

White Rose BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership in Mechanistic Biology
4 year fully-funded programme of integrated research and skills training, starting Oct 2020:
• Research Council Stipend
• UK/EU Tuition Fees
• Conference and research funding

At least a 2:1 honours degree or equivalent. We welcome students with backgrounds in biological, chemical or physical sciences, or mathematical backgrounds with an interest in biological questions.

EU candidates require 3 years of UK residency to receive full studentship

Not all projects will be funded; the DTP will appoint a limited number of candidates via a competitive process.

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Clark, C., Barnes, C., Swindell, N., Holton, M., Bingham, D., Collings, P., Barber, S., Summers, H., Mackintosh, K. & Stratton, G. (2017). Profiling movement and gait quality characteristics in pre-school children. Journal of Motor Behavior, 1-9.
Clark, C., Barnes, C., Summers, H., Mackintosh, K. & Stratton, G. (2017). Profiling movement quality characteristics of children (9-11y) during recess. European Journal of Human Movement 39, 143-160.
Clark, C., Barnes, C., Holton, M., Summers, H and Stratton, G. (2016). Profiling movement quality and gait characteristics according to body mass index in children (9-11y). Human Movement Science 49, 291-300.
Holt, N.C., Roberts, T.J. and Askew, G.N. The energetic benefits of tendon springs in running: is the reduction of muscle work important? J. Exp. Biol. 217, 4365-4371. 2014.

How good is research at University of Leeds in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 60.90

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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