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PhD Studentship - Metabolic Drivers of Growth and Survival in Salmonids

University of Essex - Ecology and Environmental Microbiology Group

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Colchester
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: From £1,569 , based on UKRI rates 2021-22
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 15th November 2021
Closes: 12th January 2022
Reference: 11314

Supervisory Team:

Dr Eoin O’Gorman (School of Life Sciences, University of Essex)

Dr Anna Sturrock (University of Essex, School of Life Sciences)

Dr Tom Cameron (University of Essex, School of Life Sciences)

Dr Rasmus Lauridsen (Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust)

Dr Colin Bull (Missing Salmon Alliance)

IRIA (where already identified): Alan Walker, CEFAS, alan.walker@cefas.co.uk

Scientific background

Atlantic salmon and brown trout are two of the most ecologically and commercially important fish species in Europe. Salmon spend up to seven years in the river before undertaking large migrations to sea, where they grow rapidly on nutrient-rich resources. Their size and the timing of their migration can play a key role in the likelihood of their eventual return to spawn in their home river. In contrast, many trout stay in the river throughout their lifecycle, but those that migrate to sea and survive the return journey to spawn tend to dominate the future gene pool in the river. The key drivers of when (or if) these migrations occur are still poorly understood, as is their role in the declining success of salmon and trout in the face of global change

Research methodology

This project will investigate the role of environment, physiology, and behaviour in determining life history choices in salmon and trout. Individual fish will be tagged using passive integrated transponders, and tracked throughout key stages of their life-cycle using established tracking stations on rivers in England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Norway, Iceland. Juvenile metabolic rate will be measured for each fish using field respirometry. Growth rate will be estimated by image analysis of annuli from fish scales. Short- and long-term diets will be quantified through microscopy of stomach contents and stable isotope analysis. Resource availability will be characterised through taxonomic identification and biomass estimates of

macroinvertebrates and algae in each river.

Training

The candidate will join the Ecology and Environmental Microbiology Group at the University of Essex and will also work with researchers at the Atlantic Salmon Trust and Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust. The supervisory team will offer training in a broad skillset related: ecophysiology, fish biology, food web ecology, freshwater taxonomy, ecological modelling, science communication. The candidate will develop extensive field skills in electrofishing, tagging, respirometry, freshwater ecology.

Person specification

We are looking for a candidate who is enthusiastic about global change biology, freshwater ecology, fish biology, ecosystem ecology, with a degree in ecology, biology, or environmental science

Funding

All UKRI-funded PhD students (UK, EU, International) will be eligible for the full award – both the stipend to support living costs, and fees at research organisations UK rate. UKRI funding will not cover international fees set by universities, but all ARIES partners have agreed to fund the top-up from UK to international fees.  ARIES funding will not cover costs associated with visa or health surcharges, additional costs associated with entry to, and living in the UK.

To Apply, email a covering letter and CV to ariesapp@essex.ac.uk

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