European Research Council Funded PhD Studentship: Developing new methodologies for quantifying flight costs

Swansea University - Biosciences

Swansea University/European Research Council PhD Scholarship 2018/2019

Project Supervisors
Supervisor 1 – Dr Emily LC Shepard, Department of Biosciences, College of Science 
Supervisor 2 – Dr Kayleigh Rose, Department of Biosciences, College of Science

Start date:  October 2018 or January 2019

Flight is thought to be one of the most energetically demanding activities that birds can perform. However, our understanding of the scale of these costs comes from mask respirometry, and little is known about how these measurements are affected by the mask itself. The primary aims of this project are to: (1) develop and validate a new method for quantifying the metabolic costs of flight for birds flying in a wind tunnel, (2) compare this to existing methodologies, and (3) use this to provide new insight into the costs of flight for a range of species. There is a real need for baseline measurements of flight costs, as they feed into models that underpin our understanding of how birds may respond to scenarios of global change and development. A new, large-scale tunnel is being designed and constructed at Swansea University especially for this project, which will enable birds as large as gulls to be flown in a controlled environment. The results will be combined with biotelemetry data to quantify how power use varies in relation to weather and behaviour. 

The post would suit a student with interests in physiology, locomotion and/ or morphology who enjoys practical experimental work. The student will receive training in a wide range of research skills, including the collection and analysis of respirometry data and working with birds. The student will be part of a dynamic, interdisciplinary research group based at Swansea University (Swansea Laboratory for Animal Movement) and will work closely with a team funded by an ERC grant.  


Academic requirements:
Candidates must have a first, upper second class honours, or Master's degree in a relevant discipline.

For candidates whose first language is not English, we require IELTS 6.5 (with 6.0 in each component) or equivalent. Please visit our website for a list of acceptable English language tests.

Residency criteria:
Due to funding restrictions, this studentship is open to UK/EU candidates only. 

Additional Funding Information
The studentship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, an annual stipend of £14,553 and research costs for 3.5 years. The studentship is funded by an ERC starting grant.

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