About this project
Applications are invited for a fully-funded PhD scholarship that will focus on understanding what factors predict wild mammalian carnivores’ ability to adapt to environmental changes, particularly within the context of rewilding. This PhD study is part of the University of Hull’s REWILD Research cluster (see “About the research cluster” below for more details of the cluster). The notion of rewilding is a controversial topic because many programmes focus on carnivores. Negative opinions can severely limit such programmes’ success, thereby wasting time, money, and effort. The PhD will therefore explore, among other things, the links between the psychology and behavioural ecology of wild mammalian carnivores’ adaptability to new environments, and how human perception of those species can facilitate rewilding success.
We are looking for an enthusiastic student with the following general qualities: 1) a keen interest and passion for wildlife, 2) experience conducting research involving trail cameras, 3) in good physical and mental condition suitable for working outdoors, 4) medical and car insurance, 5) a valid driving license, 6) a vehicle suitable for driving on country roads, 7) roadside car assistance (e.g., AA), 8) an interest and ability to work effectively in both the field and lab, and 9) a proficiency in, or willingness to become proficient in data analysis using R. Knowledge or a willingness to learn structural equation modelling is also highly desirable. Lastly, working in the field has many potential dangers (e.g., accidental injury) and must be done even when the weather is not ideal (e.g., cold and rainy days). Thus, the successful student must be willing to work safely and responsibly under such conditions, and potentially for exceptionally long hours (e.g., dawn to dusk).
The successful student will, among other things, set up trail cameras and puzzle feeders throughout our field sites to monitor animals’ visitations and behaviour at those locations. You will also use a combination of surveys and experimental methods to study the underlying drivers of human perception of wild carnivorans, particularly within the context of rewilding programmes. It is intended that there will be no direct human-animal contact and that animals will visit locations when people are not present. The successful candidate will be part of a collaborative, multidisciplinary and nurturing environment to help realise your potential, and will be provided with excellent opportunities for external networking. We will hold regular monthly meetings with the entire cluster, with opportunities to present and discuss research, invite internal and external speakers and collaborators and foster networking.
For informal enquiries, please contact Dr Blake Morton.
About the REWILD research cluster
REWILD: understanding ecological, environmental and societal costs and benefits of rewilding.
We are experiencing a global climate and biodiversity crisis. Closer to home, more than half of UK species are in decline and a further 15% threatened with extinction. Rewilding - the large-scale restoration of ecosystems by allowing reinstatement of natural processes and missing species - is seen as one potential solution for the protection and recovery of ecosystems. The rewilding of terrestrial, freshwater and marine habitats can make a critical contribution to carbon sequestration, flood mitigation, water quality, biodiversity, and human wellbeing. However rewilding can also be highly controversial, with conflicts arising because of competing interests of different stakeholder groups. The REWILD research cluster at the University of Hull is a multidisciplinary team of researchers across biology, environmental science, psychology and systems thinking, working with diverse stakeholders to collectively understand the ecological, environmental and societal costs and benefits of rewilding. Our 6 PhD studentships focus on understanding i) the impacts of rewilding projects on biodiversity, sedimentation rates and carbon sequestration dynamics, ii) the community benefits of blue spaces, and the perceptions, values and challenges of rewilding the sea, and iii) how animal “personalities” drive public perceptions of species reintroductions.
Join us at a webinar on Thursday 16 December at 6pm to find out more about this PhD cluster. Register here.
Other PhDs in this cluster
Uncovering the Biodiversity Impacts of Rewilding on Entire Ecological Communities at a Landscape Scape Using Environmental DNA
Greening Blue Spaces in Hull
Optimising Blue Carbon Storage in Estuaries Using Rewilding and Eco-engineering Approaches
Effective Biodiversity Monitoring of River Rewilding Projects Using eDNA Modelling
Rewilding the Sea: Perceptions, Values and Challenges