Job Vacancies & PhD Studentships
PhD Studentship: Ecological and Social Dimensions of Raptor Translocations
Application closing date: 20/01/2019
The award: The University of Exeter’s College of Life and Environmental Sciences, in partnership with Natural England, is inviting applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship to commence in March 2019 or as soon as possible thereafter. For eligible students the studentship will cover UK/EU tuition fees plus an annual tax-free stipend of at least £14,777 for 4 years full-time, or pro rata for part-time study. Students who pay international tuition fees are eligible to apply, but should note that the award will only provide payment for part of the international tuition fee and no stipend. The studentship will be awarded on the basis of merit for 4 years of full-time study to commence in March 2019. The student would be based in the Centre for Ecology and Conservation in the College of Life and Environmental Sciences at the Penryn Campus in Cornwall, supervised by Professor Dave Hodgson and Professor Robbie McDonald.
Raptor introductions, reintroductions or translocations are rare, and the scientific literature associated with them is usually retrospective, considering in a historical context why they have succeeded or failed. The proposed translocation of hen harriers, Circus cyaneus, to southern England, presents an extraordinary opportunity to study a raptor translocation in its early stages and as it unfolds. The ecological drivers of translocation outcomes are manifold: including population viability; Allee effects; demographic stochasticity; environmental fluctuations; diet and other dimensions of ecological niche; prey population dynamics; breeding success; behavioural interactions; dispersal and natal philopatry. The social drivers are similarly manifold: deliberative practices, means of engagement and communications; existing disputes, wider conflicts and policy differences; complex relationships among individuals and stakeholder groups. Ecological and social processes are likely to interact, both in anticipation of and during the translocation. Incorporating social-ecological approaches will bring new insights into conservation practice in contested arenas.
This PhD will take a broad view of raptor translocations, using the case study of hen harriers in England, to deepen our understanding of the ecological and social drivers of the outcomes of these important conservation actions.
For more details about the project and funding process please click here.
Prospective Research Fellows & PhD Students
Professor McDonald is interested in supporting PhD students and collaborating with fellows in any of our key research areas:
- Wildlife management and conservation
- Conflicts and disputes about animals and their management
- Ecology and management of domestic animals in the environment
- Animal social networks and their implications for ecology and diseases
- Ecology and management of introduced and invasive species
“Most of my work is conducted on mammals and birds in the UK, and this will continue to be the priority. Right now, I am especially keen to undertake further work on dormice and woodland management, predators, predation and shooting interests, badgers and bTB, cats, dogs and other domestic animals in the environment and other gnarly problems with wildlife.
I am especially keen on supervising students in collaboration with colleagues in other disciplines, across campus and beyond. Most of my PhD projects on badgers and TB are undertaken in this way. PhD supervision is also undertaken in collaboration with a number of my colleagues at partner organisations, including Professor Richard Shore at Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Professor Dez Delahay at National Wildlife Management Centre, Dr Henry Schofield and Dr Jenny Macpherson at The Vincent Wildlife Trust, Dr Robin Gill at Forest Research, Dr Ruth Cromie at Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and Dr Menna Jones at the University of Tasmania. I also co-supervise students across the GW4+ network with Dr Sarah Perkins and Dr Liz Chadwick at Cardiff University.
For all PhD students, funding is hard to come by and all scholarships for which I have secured funding will be advertised here and on findaphd.com.
I am always keen to hear from UK resident graduates, with excellent academic credentials with a view to applying for Doctoral Training Partnership and other highly competitive scholarships. If you fit this bill and are keen to develop a project in the areas above, or related areas, get in touch at any time.”
The next entry date for PhD students is September 2019, with applications between now and then.