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Wildlife conservation: Dormouse conservation in upland forests - Fully-funded PhD Studentship in Biosciences

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  • Full or part time
    Prof R McDonald
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

About the project

The University of Exeter’s College of Life and Environmental Sciences is inviting applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship on hazel dormouse conservation. The project will focus on dormouse ecology in fragmented, upland and marginal landscapes at the edges of their range. The student will investigate the connectivity, dynamics and resilience of dormouse populations in such landscapes and how best to manage them in the face of climate change, to ensure their conservation at local, regional and national levels.

Fieldwork will comprise investigations of dormouse population biology and habitat use, including at Clocaenog Forest in northeast Wales. Laboratory studies may include analyses of foraging using stable isotopes, population genetics and modelling of dormouse populations. The student will also work with local partners at Chester Zoo (, who have maintained dormouse surveillance in the region, and with ecologists and site managers at Innogy Renewables (

The student will join Professor McDonald’s research group ( at Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute. We work on native and introduced, wild and domestic species and aim to achieve goals for controlling and eradicating disease in people and animals, for conserving biodiversity and for improving livelihoods. Co-supervisors are Dr Jon Bennie, who works on climate change and habitat fragmentation as drivers of change in populations and individuals, and Professor Mike Bruford, who is a conservation geneticist, and whose interests include demographic and evolutionary processes affecting populations, species and ecosystems of conservation concern.

Funding Notes

The studentship is available to start in early 2020, or soon thereafter. Funding is confirmed for this project and comes from Innogy Renewables UK Ltd and the University of Exeter. For eligible students the studentship will cover UK/EU tuition fees plus an annual tax-free stipend (in 2019/20 this is £15,009) for 3.5 years full-time, or pro rata for part-time study, plus research expenses. Students who would pay international tuition fees are eligible, but note that the award will only provide payment for part of the tuition fee and no stipend.

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