Neutral theory and quantifying biological diversity
Stipend: £13,863 per annum (2014/15 rate)
Start date: 1 October 2015
Supervisors: Dr Richard Reeve and Dr Christina Cobbold
MVLS/EPSRC PhD positions are available within the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow. Our aim is to deliver high quality, collaborative research and training for our PhD students within the Biosciences. The West of Scotland is a key region in the UK for academic excellence, industrial support and investment. Apply now and be part of it.
Areas of research include (but are not restricted to) mathematical biology, bioenergy, synthetic biology, nanobiology and research into healthcare devices.
Diversity is a ubiquitous feature of biological systems from the scale of the molecule to the rainforest. It plays a role in such contrasting settings as pathogens evading the immune system and the health and sustainability of ecosystems. Recent advances in the development of diversity measures have provided a significant step forward in quantifying biological diversity. A key ingredient to such measures is the distribution of species abundances. Hubbell’s neutral theory offers a stochastic model for ecological assemblage. It seeks to capture the influence of speciation, extinction, dispersal and ecological drift on the resulting species abundances. Despite Hubbell’s model being well studied relatively little is known about how the processes involved in neutral theory shape the resulting diversity profiles for the community. This project will dissect the contribution of each process to the overall community diversity in a variety of contexts from disease ecology to biodiversity.
The project will take place within the Boyd Orr Centre for Population and Ecosystem Health which is a massively interdisciplinary, cross-institutional research grouping based in the University of Glasgow. The centre focuses on the ecological and clinical health of populations and ecosystems, with a common interest in quantifying, modelling, and describing ecological and epidemiological processes across discipline and taxonomic boundaries. The value of this strongly cross-disciplinary approach has recently been recognised by the award of the Queen's Anniversary Prize to the centre in 2013.
We would welcome applications from mathematicians and other graduates of quantitative disciplines enthusiastic about working in such a heterogeneous environment, as well as from strongly quantitative life scientists.
Visit our website for more information
These are 3.5-year PhD studentships. The financial package will include a 3.5-year stipend, approved University of Glasgow fees, Research Training Support Grant (RTSG) and a conference allowance. Please read the details outlined below before commencing the online application process, which is available here:http://www.gla.ac.uk/research/opportunities/howtoapplyforaresearchdegree/
Students will also participate in our outstanding skills training programme throughout their studies.
Applicants applying for an EPSRC studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a first or upper second class UK honours degree or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an appropriate area of science or technology.
The MVLS/EPSRC grant provides funding for tuition fees and stipend for UK and *EU nationals that meet all the required eligibility criteria.
*Note that EU nationals must be able to demonstrate that they have resided in the UK for three years prior to commencing the studentship. If not, EU nationals are still able to apply to the programme, but would be eligible to receive a ‘fees only’ award.
How to Apply
You can apply here. Within the application, at the programme of study search field option, please select ‘MVLS/EPSRC – Studentship’.
Please ensure that the following supporting documents are uploaded at point of application:
• Degree certificate
• Language test (if relevant)
• Personal statement
• Reference 1
• Reference 2