Fully funded PhD opportunity in pollinator ecology at the University of Oxford, UK – UK or EU nationals only
Global declines of both wild and managed insect pollinators threaten ecosystem function and human food security. Pollinator declines have been specifically linked to declines in the abundance and diversity of floral resources, the use of agrochemicals, and introduction of novel parasites. We are interested in how these changes in the foraging environment, as well as social interactions, affect foraging behaviour in UK bumblebees.
The proposed project would use a new Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)-based insect tracking system based on harmonic radar tracking to track individual bumblebees while foraging. This study will improve understanding of how farm management systems, including crop types, field sizes, and field margins, as well as pasture, woodland and other semi-natural areas influence pollinator foraging patterns. The data will provide a foundation for modelling the necessary quantity, spatial pattern and temporal presence of floral resources in agricultural systems to maintain healthy wild pollinator communities.
The successful candidate will have a strong interest in pollinator ecology, insect learning, and agro-ecology and have experience piloting UAVs. Experience with radio frequency (RF) systems, microcontroller programming, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) will be a significant advantage. For further details please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
This project is at the interface between ecology and engineering, and involves a collaboration between the Oxford departments of Plant Sciences (Dr. Tonya Lander) and Engineering (Prof. Chris Stevens).
* Have, or be expected to obtain before the project begins, a BSc or equivalent in a relevant area (e.g. biology, zoology, environmental science).
* Experience in Unmanned Aerial Vehicle piloting.
* Interest in radio frequency (RF) systems use.
* Interest in microcontroller programming.
* High motivation with intellectual curiosity and rigour.
* Ability to work independently and manage multiple tasks.
* Excellent oral and written communication skills, including ability to present research at national and international symposia.
Deadline for applications is 9 MARCH 2018