PhD Studentship: Invasive alien carnivorous plants: ecology, function and management of the purple pitcher plant (Sarracenia purpurea) in Europe

Loughborough University

Reference number: CENTA-LU10

Start date: October 1st 2017

Closing date: January 23rd 2017

Interview date: Week beginning February 13th 2017


Primary supervisor: Dr Jon Millett

Secondary supervisor: Prof Paul Wood

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship funded by the NERC CENTA Doctoral Training Partnership to start in October 2017. The project will be based in the Department of Geography at Loughborough University.

Project Detail:

The introduction of non-native invasive ‘alien’ species (IAS) is one of the most important human impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity. Questions about the ecology of many IAS, however, remain unanswered. This PhD will study the non-native carnivorous pitcher plant Sarracenia purpurea across Europe. This species is native to North America, where it is well-studied; they capture insect prey in fluid-filled pitchers, which in their native range contain a simple detritus-based food web. Sarracenia have established at several sites across Europe (26 in the British Isles); on some they are invasive.

To-date there has been very little study of European Sarracenia populations. The aims of this PhD are to determine the current and likely future extent of Sarracenia in Europe, and provide evidence to support management of existing populations. The objectives are to determine controls over geographic variability in European Sarracenia populations compared to its native range in N. America, and how function and distribution might change in the future. The PhD will also investigate the impact of non-native Sarracenia on existing communities and the effectiveness and impact of Sarracenia control measures.

Understanding the nature of the scope and impact of IAS needs a multidisciplinary approach requiring understanding of the physiological, population and community ecology of the species and of species distribution modelling. We are looking for a motivated Biology, Ecology, Environmental Science or Geography graduate to take on this challenging project. The successful student will work in Europe and North America with a range of academics and organisations.

Find out more:

For further information on this project, please see the main CENTA website ( or contact Dr Jon Millett (

Entry requirements:

Applicants will normally need to hold, or expect to gain, at least a 2:1 degree (or equivalent) in Geography, Biology, Ecology or Environmental Science.  A Master’s degree and/or experience in a related area associated with the research will be an advantage.

Funding information:

The studentship is for 3.5 years, which is intended to start October 2017. It provides a tax-free stipend of £14,296 per annum (2016/17 rate) for the duration plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate and a research training support grant of £8,000.  Due to funding restrictions, only students with UK/EU fee status will be considered for this opportunity. For further information on studentship eligibility, see RCUK Terms & Conditions.

Contact details:

Name: Dr Jon Millett

Email address:

Telephone number: +44(0)1509 222739

How to apply:

To apply:

  • Complete a CENTA studentship application form in Word format (available from
  • All applications should be made online at  Under programme name, select “Geography”.  During the online application process, upload the CENTA studentship application form as a supporting document.

Please quote CENTA-LU10 when completing your online application.

Share this PhD
  Share by Email   Print this job   More sharing options
We value your feedback on the quality of our adverts. If you have a comment to make about the overall quality of this advert, or its categorisation then please send us your feedback
Advert information

Type / Role:



Midlands of England