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Winter in the city - effects of urbanization and anthropogenic feeding on a temperate zone hibernator

   Faculty of Science

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  Dr Julia Nowack, Dr Ross Macleod, Dr Davina Hill, Prof Kathrin Dausmann  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

We are looking for a strong candidate interested in doing a PhD on how hibernators cope in urban habitats.

We are currently observing a rapid decline in biodiversity across the world, with urbanization among the main drivers of species loss, but we are yet to fully understand its effects on animal survival and health. Urbanisation poses challenges to animals through increasingly fragmented landscapes and pollution as well as changes in food resources and the thermal environment. Thus, it is not surprising that urban areas often experience reduced biodiversity. However, certain species, such as European hedgehogs, Erinaceus europaeus, are increasingly colonizing human settlements. The goal of this PhD studentship will be to investigate what microclimate conditions and habitat structures are needed for hedgehogs to thrive in urban habitats and how urban conditions are affecting timing and pattern of hibernation in individual animals. There is potential for the candidate to develop and add their own interests to the programme of research. The project will combine urban fieldwork in the North-West of England and experiments and will include radio-tracking animals to collect behavioural, ecological and physiological data.

The project is a collaboration between Dr Julia Nowack (Liverpool John Moores University, UK), Dr Ross MacLeod (Liverpool John Moores University, UK), Dr Davina Hill (University of Glasgow, UK) and Prof Dr Kathrin Dausmann (Universität Hamburg, Germany). The PhD student will be based at Liverpool John Moores University, where they will join our flourishing Behavioural Ecology and Physiology Research Group and benefit from being part of a large cross-institutional group of researchers integrating environmental, physiological and behavioural data. Informal inquiries should be sent to Dr Julia Nowack ([Email Address Removed]).

Please note that this is a two-stage application process. The supervisory team and shortlisted candidate will prepare and submit an application to a competitive internal funding call at LJMU for a fully funded studentship with and enrolment date in January/February 2023. Candidates should be available for online interviews between the 22nd and 26th of August. Details of the call can be found here:

The PhD call is open to UK or non-UK applicants. In addition to holding a masters or strong first degree in biology, zoology, or a related subject, the ideal applicant will be able to demonstrate significant interest in eco-physiology. Prior experience with fieldwork, previously published scientific articles, strong organisational skills and the ability to work both independently and collaboratively with a team would be advantageous.

To apply, email a CV and covering letter detailing your suitability for the project and contact details of two referees to Dr Julia Nowack ([Email Address Removed] ). In your covering letter, please describe with examples your 1) willingness to collect field data, 2) quantitative skills, 3) ability to work effectively in a team, and 4) suitability and motivation for the project, and training needs. Your academic history (grades, dissertation topic, publications or prizes) should be clearly presented in your CV.

Funding Notes

This is a fully funded PhD studentship.
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