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PhD Studentship: The Attractiveness and Effectiveness of Safe Downstream Passage Routes for Seaward-migrating European Eels at Pumping Stations

University of Hull

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Hull
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £14,777
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 10th August 2018
Closes: 31st August 2018

The Attractiveness and Effectiveness of Safe Downstream Passage Routes for Seaward-migrating European Eels at Pumping Stations (Bolland, Piper, Cattaneo, Thomas).

Contact Jon Bolland for more information;

Concern over the status of European eel, Anguilla anguilla, stocks is so great that the European Union has legislation (The EC Eel Regulation (1100/2007)) for their protection from human-mediated activities, including entrainment at pumping stations. However, gaps in our knowledge prevent adequate, cost-effective remediation measures being identified. This studentship is one of six in the REDEEM research cluster (Research and Development of fish and Eel Entrainment Mitigation at pumping stations) that will focus on understanding fish and eel behaviour to minimise entrainment.

Adult silver eels can be drawn into pumps and water intakes during downstream migration, and thus eel-specific downstream passage routes must be constructed. However, the response of eels approaching deleterious intakes and safe downstream passage routes is not fully understood. This fieldwork-based project will use acoustic telemetry and multi-beam imaging sonar to visualise and quantify the fine-scale behaviour of eels. The studentship will also analyse and interpret eel behaviour in relation to hydrodynamic data gathered by other researchers in the REDEEM research cluster.

By understanding movement patterns in response to hydrodynamic and other drivers, a systematic, tractable means for forecasting the movement behaviour of individuals will be produced. Findings will help identify the most effective type, location and operational flows for alternative downstream passage routes at pumping stations. The knowledge arising from this research will inform and revise policy, regulation or operational best practice for eels at pumps and water intakes at national, European and global levels. Our strong links with government and industry partners will ensure that the work will have immediately applicable outcomes and students gain industry-relevant skills and contacts.

You will be registered at University of Hull and second supervision will be provided by subject experts at academic institutes around the world, including at the Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London. You should have studied Environmental Sciences, Mathematics, Civil or Mechanical Engineering at undergraduate level; previous fish biology knowledge and experience is not a prerequisite. Previous experience the use of statistical and geographic mapping software (e.g. R, MATLAB, ArcGIS or QGIS) would be an advantage.

Further details:

For UK/EU post-graduate students the scholarship will include fees at the 'home/EU' student rate and maintenance (£14,777 in 2018/19) for three years, depending on satisfactory progress. The students will also complete modules for research and transferable skills development.

Applicants should be highly motivated, dedicated and enthusiastic and have:

  • Applicants should have at least a 2.1 undergraduate degree in a relevant subject. It is anticipated that the successful applicant will have a 1st class undergraduate degree or Masters level qualification.
  • Hold a current driving licence as the role requires field site visits.
  • Excellent writing and fluency in English is expected.
  • Candidates will be required to work flexible hours in remote locations in the UK and other countries.
  • Prospective students are expected to pursue independent research and work effectively with colleagues to contribute to cluster research goals.

Funding has been provided by EU European Marine and Fisheries Fund (ENG2130), Environment Agency (FCRM and Fisheries), Internal Drainage Boards, Association of Drainage Authorities and University of Hull.

To apply for this Scholarship please click on the Apply button above.

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