STUDENTSHIP

LONG-TERM CHANGES IN THE ABUNDANCE AND PHENOLOGY OF MIGRATING INSECTS AS POTENTIAL DRIVERS OF POPULATION CHANGE IN INSECTIVOROUS BIRDS AND BATS

PROJECT SUMMARY

AREA OF SCIENCE:

Invertebrate behaviour

DURATION:

4 Years

CLOSING DATE/TIME:

Monday, December 7, 2020 - 00:00

DEPARTMENT:

Biointeractions and Crop Protection

HOST UNIVERSITY:

University of Bristol

STUDENTSHIP DETAIL

Dramatic declines in insect abundance has been shown across continents, but few studies have linked these declines with impacts on higher trophic levels, such as birds and bats. Using the world-class Rothamsted Insect Survey (RIS) data, we will investigate how birds and bats respond to advances in the seasonal timing of insect migrations as well as changes in the distribution and abundance of insects across the UK, by matching RIS data with extensive National Bat Monitoring Programme data and British Trust for Ornithology ringing, nest records and Breeding Bird Survey data to derive impactful 25-year trends.

Field experiments will be conducted to estimate the strength of the spatial relationship between insect migration events and birds and bat activity in order to test whether these groups are increasingly mismatched with their insect prey. We will estimate the role of landscape structure, climate and other abiotic and biotic drivers on these trends.

The project is strongly multidisciplinary, drawing on biology, biophysics and behavioural ecology and has at its core, strong mathematical and statistical components. The Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) and the British Trust for Ornithology are stakeholders in this studentship and with new understanding generated from this research, BCT/BTO will translate findings into meaningful advice for land owners, and promote this advice to policy makers, land owners and farming bodies. The results of the study will also be shared with the Eurobats Intersessional Working Group on Insect Decline as a Threat to

Bat Populations in Europe and inform ornithological practice through BTO’s KE events.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Statement

We want to support diverse and inclusive work environments. We therefore welcome applications from individuals regardless of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, age, gender, or disability status. We welcome applications from individuals who have previously studied at any recognised Higher Education Institute and from a range of career paths (please refer to the SWBio DTP academic criteria for eligibility), including individuals who have previously trained in the sciences and are wanting to return to scientific research.

We particularly encourage applications from BAME* and mature (this is classed as 30+ years) individuals as these backgrounds are currently underrepresented within our student cohort. *Black, Asian and minority ethnic.

Academic criteria

Applicants for a studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an appropriate area of science or technology. Applicants with a Lower Second Class degree will be considered if they also have a Master’s degree or have significant relevant non-academic experience.

In addition, due to the strong mathematical component of the taught course in the first year and the quantitative emphasis in our projects, a minimum of a grade B in A-level Maths or an equivalent qualification or experience is required.

Equivalent qualifications/experience

Physics A-level (grade B and above)

Undertaking units as part of your degree that have a significant mathematical component*

*Significant mathematical component examples include; maths, statistics, bioinformatics.

Applicants must ensure they highlight their Maths background within their application and to upload any supporting evidence.

Residence criteria

UKRI have recently updated their policy for funded studentships which starts from the 2021/2022 academic year.

IMPORTANT: Please refer to the UKRI Full Eligibility Criteria alongside the information provided below.

Home students

Fully-funded studentships are available for Home students.  To be classed as a Home student, candidates must meet the following criteria:

Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or

Have settled status, or

Have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirement) or,

Have indefinite leave to remain or enter

International students

If you do not meet the above criteria, you will be classed as an International student.

A very limited number of funded studentships are available for International applicants, and these may only be available through some of our partners.  Further details about how to apply to the SWBio DTP will be provided here in due course.

Therefore, we are currently unable to accept applications from applicants who would be classed as an International student, unless the studentship can be externally funded (including self-funded) to the DTP.  However, in the meantime, we do welcome you to approach supervisors of projects you may be interested in.

To be eligible for a fully-funded studentship, you must meet the below academic and residence criteria.

A fully-funded four year SWBio DTP studentship will cover:

  • - a stipend* (at the standard UKRI rate; £15,009 per annum for 2019-2020)

- research and training costs

- tuition fees (at the standard UKRI rate)

- additional funds to support fieldwork, conferences and a 3-month internship

To apply for this project, please complete our Rothamsted PhD Application Form which can be found in the downloads section of this advert.

All applications should include a fully completed application form, CV, a transcript of module marks and two references.

The reference form which will need to be completed by your referees can be found on the downloads section of this project. These references should be sent directly from the referees to Donna Fellowes; rres.graduate-studies@rothamsted.ac.uk by the deadline: Midnight, 7th December 2020.  

PLEASE ENSURE THAT YOU CONTACT YOUR REFEREES AND LET THEM KNOW THAT WE NEED THEIR REFERENCES BY THE DEADLINE DATE.