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Cardiff School of Biosciences PhD Studentship: Predictions of river habitat response to climate change across the United Kingdom

Reference Number: R923
Closing Date: Closed for applications
Funding Amount: UK/EU tuition plus a stipend of £13,590
Level of Study: Postgraduate Research
Regions: EU (Non UK), UK
This funding opportunity is now closed for application

Key Studentship Information

Rivers are host to a range of habitats that develop in response to prevailing flow conditions. Because discharge varies systematically throughout catchments, unique habitats arise within defined reaches where they can be physically supported. Consequently, any adjustment in river discharge could change the extent and connectivity of different habitats, potentially risking the local existence of many species. This issue is of great concern to statutory and conservation agencies that need to identify at-risk habitats and predict the potential effects of future changes in discharge.

This project will investigate further the discharge-habitat-ecology relationship, building on current work to develop a model that predicts river habitat adjustment. It will use a combination of:

  1. analysis of existing data describing channel structure, climate and biology;
  2. fieldwork to investigate the links between community structure and hydromorphology;
  3. modelling changes in habitat structure and biology under different climate scenarios; and potentially
  4. field experiments of habitat adjustment to changes in discharge and sediment loading.

The PhD will generate predictions of how community structures will be affected during various emission scenarios.

The project is a collaboration between Cardiff University’s Schools of Biosciences and Earth & Ocean Sciences. The combination of hydrological, geomorphological and ecological training in the PhD fits a major skills gap in current river research and management. The student will also benefit from close links with existing multi-disciplinary river research in Cardiff (e.g. £3 million NERC DURESS project).

Supervisor: Dr Ian Vaughn

Co-supervisors: Dr José Constantine and Prof Steve Ormerod


The President's Research Scholarships

This project is funded through Cardiff University President's Research Scholarship. The scholarship pays full tuition fees at UK/EU rate plus annual stipend of £13,590.


Applicants should have, or expect to be awarded, either a first-class honours degree or a 2.1 plus a postgraduate Masters degree (or their equivalents).

How to Apply

Please email a CV and covering letter to both Dr Ian Vaughan,, and Dr José Constantine,

Application deadline: Friday 7 December, 2012.

Further Information

For further information please contact Dr Ian Vaughan,, or Dr José Constantine,

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