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Fully funded NERC and competitive DTP PhD programs with MEFGL collaborators now advertising!

Fully funded PhD available, residency at the University of Essex, supervised by Si Creer (MEFGL), Alex Dumbrell (Essex) and Tom Little (Imperial):

Using Thermal Niche Theory to Predict Community Dynamics In Freshwater Ecosystems

Project Description

Climate warming is one of the biggest drivers of change in many ecological systems. However, we remain largely ignorant about its impacts on many groups of organisms and their ecological interactions, particularly in freshwater environments. Within these systems, bacterivorous micro- and meiofauna are key taxa in regulating bacterial communities, and thus have consequences for bacterial-driven ecosystem functions (e.g. nutrient cycling).

In the context of warming environments, it is critical to know how warming alters the complex web of interactions between bacteria and the grazer community, if we are to understand the functional implications of climate change. The studentship will use the ecological niche concept as a foundation to understand component and community wide responses to simulated global warming and the concomitant ecosystem functioning outcomes.

The overall goal of the studentship will be to investigate how ecological niche breadth influences tipping points and community interactions, including food webs within freshwater lentic microbial eukaryote communities associated with warming. The studentship will be embedded within a funded NERC Large Grant seeking to understand global aspects of freshwater warming and so provides excellent links to a large and vibrant international research community.

Closing date: 31st October, for more details and how to apply, please visit: and/or contact Si Creer ( in the first instance.

Publication date: 12 October 2015

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