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We have 117 Ecology PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships in the UK



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Ecology PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships in the UK

We have 117 Ecology PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships in the UK

An Ecology PhD would give you the chance to study the relationships between organisms and their environment, through a model species, field work, or mathematical modelling. Whatever you study, from population ecology to how plants are affected by the soil ecosystem, you’ll be aiming to develop methods of reducing or mitigating any negative impacts environmental changes may be having.

What’s it like to do a PhD in Ecology?

Studying a PhD in Ecology, you’ll gain a variety of skills since Ecology draws on techniques from many subjects including Geology, Microbiology and Bioinformatics.

Some typical research topics in Ecology include:

  • Studying the effect of an environmental factor e.g. urbanisation is affecting a species
  • Developing models to estimate the impact of environmental changes to organisms
  • Investigating how the interaction between species has evolved
  • Population ecology, studying the dynamics of a population including interactions with environment, birth, death, and immigration rates
  • Developing methods of mitigating adverse effects of altering the environment on the species it contains
  • Focused study on a particular ecosystem and its species (overlap with Biodiversity)

In a general workday, you’ll be conducting field work and analysing previous data or if you’re project involves Bioinformatics, you’ll be writing programmes and using methods from statistics and data science to analyse large datasets. Discussing your results, progress and problems with your supervisor and colleagues.

Your PhD will end with the submission of a thesis (approximately 60,000 words in length) that significantly contributes to the knowledge of your field, and a viva exam, in which you’ll defend your research.

Ecology PhD programmes are generally advertised projects with full funding attached, with the project proposal written by the supervisor. However, for some advertised projects you must find your own source of funding, which can be difficult due to additional bench fees, though these may not be as high as more laboratory-based subjects, it is still an extra cost to cover. This difficulty also makes proposing your own project in Ecology uncommon.

Entry requirements

The entry requirements for most Ecology PhD programmes involve a Masters in a subject directly related to Biology, with experience in Environmental Biology desirable, at Merit or Distinction level. If English isn’t your first language, you’ll also need to show that you have the right level of language proficiency.

PhD in Ecology funding options

The research council responsible for funding Ecology PhDs in the UK is the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). They provide fully-funded studentships including a stipend for living costs, a consumables budget for bench fees and a tuition fee waiver. Students don’t apply directly to the BBSRC, you apply for advertised projects with this funding attached.

It’s difficult for Ecology PhD students to be ‘self-funded’ due to the additional bench fees. However, if you were planning to fund yourself it might be achievable (depending on your project) through the UK government’s PhD loan and part-time work.

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Population genomics of insect communities

Declines in insect populations and species are arguably one of the most concerning symptoms of the biodiversity crisis, given their importance in underpinning food webs and ecosystem processes. Read more

Bacterial biofilms, biocides and antibiofilm surfaces: Developing standardised methods to assess efficacy of antibiofilm surfaces in wet environments

Summary. Biofilm on surfaces is a widespread, multi-sector problem, with significant economic impact. Some industries, particularly those that use liquids containing nutrition for bacteria can have significant issues with formation of biofilm. Read more

The importance of location of origin for wildflower seed mixes

Traditional wildflower meadows are culturally and ecologically important habitats in the UK but their area has been in steep decline over the past century of neglect and intensive land management. Read more

Multi-scale modelling of the evolution and ecology of bacterial defence systems

Location. Ecology and Conservation, Penryn Campus, Cornwall.  . The University of Exeter’s Department of Ecology and Conservation is inviting applications for a PhD studentship fully-funded by the University of Exeter as part of a BBSRC sLoLA grant to commence on 25 September 2023 or as soon as possible thereafter. Read more

Standing nonheritable variation in bacteria

The aim of this multi-disciplinary project is to develop quantitative methods to measure variation and selection, and their impacts on the dynamics of bacterial populations under changing environmental conditions. Read more

An ecological approach to zoonotic parasite invasion into the UK through pet movement and climate change

Pet travel and imports bring risks of zoonotic parasite introductions. Changes in pet travel rules, commercial activity and rehoming from overseas have broadened possible sources and routes of infection, while the likelihood of exotic parasite establishment increases as climate warms. Read more

Predicting zoonotic disease dynamics from digital archive records

Over 60% of human diseases have their origin traced to wildlife. These zoonotic diseases represent a significant threat to global human health, wildlife health, food security and economic growth, and understanding where, when and why they emerge is a crucial aspect of disease control. Read more

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