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Understanding Life in the Freezer: locomotor performance as the key to understanding the possible influences of climate change in high Arctic species

Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

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Dr J Codd , Dr R Nudds Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Scientific research has focused on the Arctic recently as this region is at high risk from the effects of climate change. Animal energy budgets are linked to species survival and are composed of various factors including the cost of locomotion. These costs associated with activities such as walking and running are likely to be significant as the predicted outcomes for the effects of climate change are shifts in the amounts of time apportioned to different activities. Maintaining an energy balance is vital to the energy conservation and evolutionary fitness of all organisms. However, our current understanding of the basic physiology of many of the animals living in this region is not sufficient to allow inferences into the possible effects of climate change to be properly assessed. Therefore, this project will use a combination of laboratory and field based techniques to investigate the daily energy budgets and cost of locomotion for Arctic species including reindeer and ptarmigan.

Funding Notes

This project has a Band 3 fee. Details of our different fee bands can be found on our website ( For information on how to apply for this project, please visit the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Doctoral Academy website (

Informal enquiries may be made directly to the primary supervisor.


CD Thomas (2004) Extinction risk from climate change Nature 427, 145-148.
Nudds, Folkow, Lees, Tickle, Stokkan & Codd (2011) Evidence for energy savings from aerial running in the Svalbard rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta hyperborean): OPrioc Roy. Soc. B. 278:2646-2653.

Lees, Nudds, Stokkan, Folkow & Codd (2010) Reduced metabolic cost of locomotion in Svalbard rock ptarmigan (Lagopus muta hyperborean) PLoS ONE 5(11): e15490.

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