Understanding invasive plant-native animal interactions in São Paulo State, Brazil.
In Brazil, white ginger (Hedychium coronarium) is a widespread invasive plant in riparian and wetland areas, including in the Atlantic Forest biodiversity hotspot, where it has the potential to transform ecological communities and hydrology in this important water catchment. However, little is known about the historical spread of this species, and its pollination and reproductive ecology. While the species is known to reproduce vegetatively through rhizomes, the amount of viable seed produced from pollination or self-fertilisation is not known. Understanding the population structure and potential for sexual reproduction in this species will be important for future efforts aimed at mitigating further spread. Capybaras are native herbivores known to feed on white ginger, but the strength and consequences of this interaction are not known. For example, herbivory and use of white ginger as a habitat by Capybaras may increase spread of the invasive plant through fragmentation. This project offers a unique opportunity to understand these interactions, and therefore the spread dynamics of ginger and its impact on invaded habitats.
The candidate will gain skills and expertise in DNA extraction, PCR and processing and analysis of microsatellite data. The candidate will also gain experience in setting up field experiments in Brazil, skills in statistical analysis, and in camera trapping methods.
Applicants should contact Dr Wayne Dawson ([Email Address Removed]), and send a cover letter explaining her/his suitability for the project, and a cv, plus the names of two referees.
(Durham Doctoral Scholarship, 3 years if succesful)
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
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FTE Category A staff submitted: 39.00
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