Contact me if you are interested in PhD or postdoc positions in my lab, looking at how global change affects biodiversity.
Fully funded PhD Studentship, Sep 2018:
Does habitat specialisation increase vulnerability to global environmental changes? Assessing the impacts of anthropogenic disturbance on bats in Malawi
Dr Orly Razgour (University of Southampton)
Dr Patrick Osborne (University of Southampton)
Dr Emma Stone (African Bat Conservation & Cardiff University)
Anthropogenic environmental changes are a major threat to biodiversity. Given the extent of these changes and expected biodiversity losses, it is important to effectively identify the most vulnerable species to guide conservation management. Ecological specialisation is thought to be a key trait signalling species’ vulnerability to environmental changes, especially when coupled with higher trophic level occupancy, low reproductive rates, long generation times and limited dispersal abilities. This project will investigate whether specialist species are more sensitive to anthropogenic land-use changes using bats in Malawi as a case study.
Malawi has amongst the highest rates of environmental pressures from agriculture and deforestation in southern Africa; however, the impacts on wildlife are unknown. Based on their ecological and life history traits, bats are expected to be particularly sensitive to environmental changes. Therefore increasing agricultural pressures and deforestation in Malawi are likely to pose a particular threat to forest specialist bats.
The PhD candidate will combine molecular and spatial ecological approaches to develop the following objectives:
- Determine the effect of land-use changes on population size, distribution, patterns of genetic variation and long-term threats to specialist versus generalist bat species.
- Relate the effect of environmental heterogeneity to bat movement patterns across land-use change gradients to identify important habitats and areas for maintaining landscape connectivity.
- Model the expansion potential of generalist bat species, and the effect of their expansion on forest specialists.
This multidisciplinary project offers training opportunities in ecological fieldwork, GIS, remote sensing, spatial statistics, ecological modelling, molecular lab techniques and genetic data analysis. The PhD candidate will travel to Malawi for fieldwork and training.
Application Deadline: 05.01.2018
Interviews will be held at the University of Southampton in February-March 2018.
Competition funded: NERC SPITFIRE DTP studentship (funded for 3.5 years) – for UK applicants, and EU applicants who have lived in the UK for >3 years.