PhD opportunity

This studentship addresses one of the world’s biggest contemporary environmental challenges, namely how to ensure the continued ecosystem service delivery of neonicotinoid impacted soil ecosystems. This interdisciplinary study will involve training in field monitoring and laboratory methods, and will focus on three of the potentially most affected species interacting with neonicotinoid contaminated soils, namely soil invertebrates, solitary bees and hedgehogs.

The cultivation of arable crops, such as oil seed rape, have relied increasingly on the seed coating of a range of neonicotinoid compounds to control insect pests. Their use is thought to have significantly impacted pollinators across the world resulting in their banned use throughout Europe and the UK. The long-term impacts of neonicotinoid applications on a range of biota remains unknown but is likely to include cascading impacts throughout the trophic levels (i.e. a human-induced trophic cascade). Year 1 of the PhD will focus on formal research training in environmental and soil science research.

The student will also undertake an ecosystem service mapping assessment of UK arable systems as part of the study’s experimental design. In Year 2, the student will undertake field-scale trials to evaluate the impact of neonicotinoids under different soil conditions.

Year 3 will quantify the trophic impact and relationship to differing historical usage patterns and in-field residual concentrations use on the three target species. The PhD will be written up as scientific papers to maximise the training experience. The studentship will be jointly supervised by Bangor University (Dr Paul Cross, Dr Matt Hayward and Prof Davey Jones) and CEH (Richard Pywell).

Eligibility: Applicants should hold a minimum of a UK Honours Degree at 2:1 level or equivalent in subjects such as Environmental Science, Agriculture, Biology, Geography or Natural Sciences.  Application forms at http://wp.lancs.ac.uk/stars/projects/2017-studentships-details/#layers-widget-column-65

For further details please contact Dr Paul Cross at Paul.Cross@bangor.ac.uk