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Preventing the spread of Invasive Non Native animal and plant species; developing the evidence base for effective mitigation to prevent the spread of invasive species through water transfer networks

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  • Full or part time
    Dr A M Dunn
  • 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

Supervisors Drs Alison Dunn (School of Biology), Akin Babatunde (Civil Engineering) and Ben Aston (Yorkshire Water)

Invasive Non Native Species (INNS) cost the UK ~£1.7bn pa and are a particular threat to aquatic ecosystems; eg zebra mussels block pipes and reduce drinking water quality, floating pennywort clogs river intakes, increases flood risk and reduces biodiversity of native species in our rivers, lakes and reservoirs. Yorkshire water (YW) are responsible for supplying 1.3 billion litres of water a day to their customers. Raw water transfers between rivers or reservoirs are critical to balance demand across our regional supply network.

THE AIM of the studentship is to develop and test new mitigation practices to reduce the spread of INNS to reservoirs and rivers during water transfers. It will focus on key invasive animal and plant species as identified by the Environment Agency and the UK water industry. The student will receive interdisciplinary training in invasive species biology and water engineering to develop solutions for the water industry.

Accidental translocation of animals or plant fragments during water transfers can lead to the spread of INNS - indeed a new invasive population can be result from just a few animals or plant fragments. Critically, the likelihood of invasion of a new water body depends on the number of INNS individuals introduced. The flow of raw water transfers commonly range from 1 to 30 megalitres/day, with flows of 130 Ml/day at some sites. Most transfers are by pipe, with some by brick/stone/mortar aquaducts.

OBJECTIVES
• TEST NEW MITIGATION MEASURES TO REDUCE INNS DENSITY IN WATER TRANSFERS
1. Changes to source pipe depth. INNS plants as well as mussel larvae are concentrated in the upper water column. The student will compare the numbers of INNS in water sourced from different reservoir depths.
2. Timing and source of supply to grid network. Using existing data on seasonal INNS growth and reproduction and YW INNS
distribution maps, the student will test the effectiveness of avoiding sourcing water from invaded water courses at high risk times.

• TEST TREATMENTS TO REMOVE INNS
1. Test the effectiveness of screening and sand filters in INNS removal and their impact on water quality and flow
2. Test the effectiveness of chemical measures (ozone and chlorine) in killing INNS

TRAINING The project crosses ecological and engineering disciplines and will provide the student with training in academic and applied skills in both sectors to inform technology required to provide safe drinking water. They will be jointly supervised by Drs Alison Dunn (Biology) and Akin Babatunde (Civil Engineering) and Ben Aston (Yorkshire Water).

Dr Dunn’s lab has expertise INNS ecology and a track record of research into biosecurity to slow the spread of INNS. AD will provide training in INNS biology and biosecurity will supervise work in the lab and field to test the effectiveness of INNS mitigation techniques. The student will join the Ecology and Evolution research group with its series of seminars, workshops and social events.

Dr Babatunde’s lab has expertise in water quality and water flow. The student will join the water, public health and environmental engineering research group. AB will provide training and supervision in lab and field approaches to measure the impact of potential INNS mitigation on water quality, water flow and the security of water transfers.

Yorkshire Water This is a collaboration with YW. The student will spend 10 months working directly with Yorkshire water Environment Assessment team at diverse sites from 116 reservoirs, to major river intakes and treatment works across Yorkshire

This project is pioneering in testing mitigation and treatment of INNS for use in a large-scale, real world system. It thus places environmental science at the heart of responsible management of natural resources. Bringing together ecological and engineering expertise, the research will inform technology required to provide safe drinking water supplies. Societal impact includes benefit to regional biodiversity and ecosystems processes through the prevention of the spread of INNS as well as ensuring safe water supply.

BACKGROUND NEEDED The student will have a first degree in Biology, Ecology, Environmental Sciences, Civil Engineering, Engineering or related subject. Preferred background includes a Masters or M Biol in Biology, Ecology, Environmental Sciences, Civil Engineering, Engineering or related discipline.

Funding Notes

Project is eligible for funding under the FBS Faculty Studentships scheme.
Successful candidates will receive a PhD studentship for 4 years, covering fees at UK/EU level and stipend at research council level (£14,777 for 2018-19).
Candidates should have, or be expecting, a 2.1 or above at undergraduate level in a relevant field. If English is not your first language, you will also be required to meet our language entry requirements. The PhD is to start in Oct 2018.
Please apply online here https://studentservices.leeds.ac.uk/pls/banprod/bwskalog_uol.P_DispLoginNon Include project title and supervisor name

References

Anderson. L.G., DUNN, A.M., Rosewarne, P.J. & Stebbing, P.D. 2015. Invaders in hot water: a simple decontamination method to prevent the accidental spread of aquatic invasive non-native species. Biological Invasions DOI 101.007/s10530-015-0875-6

• Anderson, L.G., White, P.C.L., Stebbing, P.D., Stentiford, G.D. & DUNN, A.M. 2014. Biosecurity and Vector Behaviour: Evaluating the Potential Threat Posed by Anglers and Canoeists as Pathways for the Spread of Invasive Non-Native Species and Pathogens. Plos One, 9 https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0092788

Anderson. L.G., Rocliffe, S., Haddaway, N.R., Dunn, A.M. 2015b. The Role of Tourism and Recreation in the Spread of Non-Native Species: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis PLOS ONE 10. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0140833

Cowle, M., Babatunde, A. and Bockelmann-Evans, B. N. 2016. The frictional resistance induced by bacterial based biofouling in drainage pipelines. Journal of Hydraulic Research, 55(2), 269-283

Cowle, M., Babatunde, A.O, Rauen, W.B., Bockelmann-Evans, B. N. and Barton, A.F. 2014. Biofilm development in water distribution and drainage systems: dynamics and implications for hydraulic efficiency. Environmental Technology Reviews 3(1), pp. 31-47.

EU 1143/2014 http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?qid=1417443504720&uri=CELEX:32014R1143

GB NNSS Strategy www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/455526/gb-non-native-species-strategy-pb14324.pdf

Sani, A. Scholz, M, Babatunde, A.O. and Wang, Y. 2013. Impact of Water Quality Parameters on the Clogging of Vertical-Flow Constructed Wetlands Treating Urban Wastewater. Water, Air, & Soil Pollution 224(3).

• C. Sutcliffe, C. H. Quinn, C. Shannon, A. Glover, A. M. Dunn 2017 Exploring the attitudes to and uptake of biosecurity practices for invasive non-native species: views amongst stakeholder organisations working in UK natural environments. Biol Invasions (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-017-1541-y

How good is research at University of Leeds in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 60.90

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