Projects


Applications for 2022 are now open.


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Available Projects

A New Framework for Measuring Uncertainty in Satellite Observations of Climate Change.

This project offers the exciting opportunity to develop fundamental new insight into the certainty of satellite estimates of climate change,… November 9, 2020Nicola O’Byrne 2020 Lancaster University Read More

Assessing the role of geodiversity in conserving biodiversity in agricultural Eurasian grasslands

This project assesses geodiversity-biodiversity relationships and hypothesised drivers, mainly at the Târnava Mare Natura 2000 site, Transy… November 9, 2020Nicola O’Byrne 2020 University of Nottingham Read More

Biosphere mapping of lead pollution though time

This PhD will create a novel methodology for GIS mapping of the extent of Pb pollution through time in Central Britain, resulting in an impo… November 9, 2020Nicola O’Byrne 2020 BGS Read More

Confronting the Changing Diversity Patterns of Coral Reefs

Coral reef ecosystems are in a state of change. Increasingly frequent and severe disturbances, and escalation of human interactions, are tra… November 9, 2020Nicola O’Byrne 2020 Lancaster University Read More

Constraining palaeoceanographic changes in Pacific meridional overturning circulation (PMOC)

Palaeoceanographic studies have often focused on understanding how the North Atlantic Ocean responds to and has driven past changes in the g… November 9, 2020Nicola O’Byrne 2020 University of Nottingham Read More

Country, calypso or carimbó? The role of cultural value shifts in advancing Amazonian deforestation frontiers

This inter-disciplinary project addresses the intractable problem of how to reduce tropical deforestation. Current strategies such as REDD+ … November 9, 2020Nicola O’Byrne 2020 Lancaster University Read More

Deepwater gunk and slimeballs: Diversity and function of benthic microbes in West Greenland lakes

We are looking for a student with interests in Arctic science, microbial ecology and lake ecosystems. Focused on the Kangerlussuaq area of W… November 9, 2020Nicola O’Byrne 2020 University of Nottingham Read More

Destabilisation of terrestrial ecosystems in the high Arctic by extreme winter warming

The high Arctic is warming at an alarming rate, disrupting soil carbon, nutrient and hydrological cycles. This is resulting in increased soi… November 9, 2020Nicola O’Byrne 2020 University of Nottingham Read More

Drivers of tropical freshwater biodiversity: a DNA metabarcoding approach

Southeast Asian (SE-Asian) freshwater biodiversity is declining rapidly. This is particularly true for Borneo, renowned for its highly diver… November 9, 2020Nicola O’Byrne 2020 University of Nottingham Read More

Drought vulnerability of the date palm and its wild relatives

Understanding the mechanisms and evolution of drought tolerance in plants is crucial to support the development of drought-tolerant crops, a… November 9, 2020Nicola O’Byrne 2020 Bangor University Read More

Exploring drivers of rarity in the arable weed flora

Several iconic plant species that used to be common in cropped fields, including corncockle and corn marigold have dramatically decreased in… November 9, 2020Nicola O’Byrne 2020 Rothamsted Research Read More

Fishing for parasite genomes: host-parasite co-evolution of an emerging salmonid disease

Climate change may drive the emergence of disease epidemics with severe ecological and economic consequences. Freshwater ecosystems, and the… November 9, 2020Nicola O’Byrne 2020 University of Nottingham Read More

Functional role of uncharted coral reef habitats in the Anthropocene

Tropical reef-building corals are vulnerable to breakage by waves and some corals also asexually reproduce via fragmentation. Early descript… November 9, 2020Nicola O’Byrne 2020 Bangor University Read More

Herbivore-Plant-Soil microbe interactions: who is helping whom

Globally, 20-40% of crops are lost to insects, pathogens and weeds. Novel solutions to combat these biotic threats and protect crop health a… November 9, 2020Nicola O’Byrne 2020 Rothamsted Research Read More

How do birds contribute to the spread of antimicrobial resistant microorganisms?

The emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance genes (AMR) amongst pathogenic microorganisms is one of the greatest health issues of t… November 9, 2020Nicola O’Byrne 2020 Bangor University Read More

Impact of warm salty Indian Ocean water leakage into the South Atlantic on the Benguela Upwelling ecosystem over the last 40 years

The Benguela upwelling system supports fisheries that are key marine resources of the developing nations of South Africa and Namibia.  Beng… November 9, 2020Nicola O’Byrne 2020 Bangor University Read More

Impacts of land-use and climate change on net zero and ecosystem services

Why this project is important: Ensuring grasslands, which cover 40% of the UK, provide a suite of ecosystem goods and services and store nat… October 20, 2020Nicola O’Byrne 2020 Lancaster University Read More

Loktak Lake, India: Assessing the impacts of aquaculture and pesticide use in a protected tropical wetland

Loktak Lake, located in Manipur, is the largest freshwater lake in NE India, declared a Ramsar site in 1990. It is divided into three main b… November 9, 2020Nicola O’Byrne 2020 BGS Read More

Multi-scale modelling of invasive mosquito disease vector establishment in the UK under future climate change scenarios

Aedes albopictus, a highly invasive mosquito species and important transmission vector of dengue, zika, yellow fever, dirofilaria and chikun… November 9, 2020Nicola O’Byrne 2020 CEH Read More

Net zero, land use and climate change: what are the ecosystem consequences?

Why this project is important: Ensuring grasslands, which cover 40% of the UK, provide a suite of ecosystem goods and services and store nat… November 9, 2020Nicola O’Byrne 2020 Lancaster University Read More

Rare, extreme rainfall events dominate nitrous oxideemissions from hyper arid deserts(AtacamaN20)

The Atacama Desert is the oldest and driest desert on earth. It is also one of the most hostile environments for microbial life on Earth due… November 9, 2020Nicola O’Byrne 2020 Rothamsted Research Read More

Seeing into the subsurface – next generation geophysical imaging for environmental and engineering hazard monitoring

Are you looking to transfer your experience of computational methods to tackling some important Earth science problems?   We are intereste… November 9, 2020Nicola O’Byrne 2020 Lancaster University Read More

Stalagmite capture of groundwater nitrogen

The world’s population relies on using nitrogen to boost crop yields and ensure sufficient food production. However, application of nitrog… November 9, 2020Nicola O’Byrne 2020 Lancaster University Read More

The ecological and evolutionary significance of functional variation in mitochondria in a wild animal

In this multidisciplinary, international project you will address novel and exciting questions about the ecological and evolutionary consequ… November 9, 2020Nicola O’Byrne 2020 University of Nottingham Read More

The evolution of mimicry in a changing world: how shifting bumblebee communities affect selection on a colour-polymorphic hoverfly

Complex species interactions make the impacts of global environmental change difficult to foresee. Understanding the ecological and evolutio… November 9, 2020Nicola O’Byrne 2020 University of Nottingham Read More

The impact of ozone and climate change on floral VOC signalling in beans, with a focus on subsistence agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa

Bean yields are significantly affected by pollinator visitation, a visitation which can be heavily influenced by the release of floral volat… November 9, 2020Nicola O’Byrne 2020 CEH Read More

The mysterious microbial ecosystem beneath our feet: Unravelling groundwater microbiology

Groundwater constitutes 99% of accessible freshwater on the planet and is a vital resource for public water supply in the UK. It contains a … November 9, 2020Nicola O’Byrne 2020 BGS Read More

The War-torn Woodlands of Britain: Reconstructing the ecological impacts of historical disturbance

We seek a numerate, enthusiastic student with a passion for understanding how woodland habitats have been shaped by human activity past and … November 9, 2020Nicola O’Byrne 2020 CEH Read More

UK air pollution futures and their health impacts

Poor air quality is the number one environmental health threat in the UK, contributing to ~30,000 deaths per year, while also exacerbating s… November 9, 2020Nicola O’Byrne 2020 Lancaster University Read More

Understanding and monitoring insect pest dispersal within a changing environment

This exciting PhD project will work at the cutting edge of mathematical and statistical sciences to deliver automatic insect pest detection.… November 9, 2020Nicola O’Byrne 2020 Rothamsted Research Read More

Understanding how habitat quality, insect abundance and aquatic subsidies impact population change in a rapidly declining bird

Global declines in migrant bird populations are a major threat to the world’s ecosystems. Migrants provide vital ecosystem services at lar… November 9, 2020Nicola O’Byrne 2020 Lancaster University Read More

Understanding responses of coastal seabirds to local and daily-scale meteorological variation

Weather patterns are changing across the globe, and these changes may affect populations of animals. For coastal seabirds, it seems likely t… November 9, 2020Nicola O’Byrne 2020 Bangor University Read More

Unhappy Bedfellows? Interactions between the invasive species Sargassum muticum and Threatened seagrass beds (Zostera spp).

Successful invasive species often escape top-down pressure in the early stages of invasion. However, emerging evidence suggests that over ti… November 9, 2020Nicola O’Byrne 2020 Bangor University Read More

Urban greenspace – what attributes determine wellbeing?

Stress is ubiquitous in UK society (85% of which is urban). However, access to green space is correlated with better quality of life, and ca… October 12, 2020Nicola O’Byrne 2020 CEH Read More

Using ecological theory and data to evaluate and improve industry’s measurement of Biodiversity Net Gain

Growing awareness of the rapid rate of biodiversity loss, and the ultimate impacts on human wellbeing, has resulted in increasing policy com… November 9, 2020Nicola O’Byrne 2020 Bangor University Read More

What drives cold pulses at remote tropical reefs?

Coral reefs are susceptible to thermal-induced bleaching during ocean warming events, although some reefs are more susceptible than others a… November 9, 2020Nicola O’Byrne 2020 Bangor University Read More