PhD Studentship - Waking the Dead: Evolutionary Responses of Daphnia spp. to Biophysical Disruption in Tropical Lake Systems

Loughborough University

Start date: October 1st 2018

Closing date: January 22nd 2018

Interview date: Week beginning February 12th 2018


Primary supervisor: Dr David Ryves

Secondary supervisor: Prof John Anderson / Dr Luisa Orsini (Birmingham)

Intro (standard):

Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014). In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Graduate School, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career.

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Project Detail:

Tropical freshwater lakes are critical natural systems of global importance, providing vital ecosystem services to some of Earth’s fastest growing and most vulnerable human populations, yet are scientifically under researched. Tropical lakes are excellent natural laboratories in which to study ecological responses to such environmental stressors, both at a community level (e.g. functional and taxonomic biodiversity) and for individual groups or species. In particular, tropical lakes provide exciting opportunities to explore evolutionary processes for keystone aquatic organisms. Daphnia spp. (water fleas) are ideal for such studies as they have both fast generational turnover, and produce eggs in protective cases, which can be hatched from seedbanks in lake sediments.

This PhD will address these questions in the lake-rich region of equatorial western Uganda, where there are ~100 crater lakes, together comprising a globally important ecoregion and acting as a natural aquatic laboratory, within landscapes often heavily impacted by human activity. This project combines contemporary limnology, ecology, and palaeolimnology (and specifically experimental ecology, genomics and “resurrection ecology”) across a suite of contrasting crater lakes in western Uganda. The aim is to characterise aquatic ecological response to environmental change over the last c.100-150 years. Outcomes of this project will shed new light on evolutionary responses of keystone aquatic species to environmental perturbations (e.g. climate change, eutrophication) with wide applicability.

Find out more:

For further information on this project, please see the main CENTA website ( or contact Dr David Ryves ( or Dr Luisa Orsini (

Entry requirements:

Applicants will normally need to hold, or expect to gain, at least a 2:1 degree (or equivalent) in Geography, Biology, Earth Science 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 and is intended to start in October 2018. The studentship provides a tax free stipend of £14,553 per annum (in 2017/18) for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate (£4,195 in 2017/18) and a research training support grant of £8,000. Please note that due to restrictions imposed by the funder only students with a UK/EU fee status will be considered for this position. Further guidance about eligibility is available at RCUK Terms & Conditions.

Contact details:

Name: Dr David Ryves

Email address:

Telephone number: +44 (0)1509 228192

How to apply:

  • Complete a CENTA studentship application form in Word format (available from or here).
  • 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 CENTA17-LU8 when completing your online application.

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