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PhD Studentship: The Impacts of Anthropogenic Noise on Bats - Experimental Studies to Identify Thresholds and Inform Industry Guidance

UWE, Bristol - College of Health, Science and Society

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Bristol
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: From £17,668 (2022/23 award) per annum
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 7th December 2022
Closes: 30th January 2023
Reference: 2223-APR-CHSS10

An opportunity to apply for a funded full-time PhD in the College of Health, Science and Society, UWE Bristol in partnership with the Milner Institute of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Bath. 

Ref 2223-APR-CHSS10

The expected start date of this studentship is 01 April 2023

The closing date for applications is 30 January 2023.  

Studentship Details

Urban areas are expanding proportionally faster in a global context than any other land cover type, causing dramatic changes in the structure and functioning of ecosystems. Conversion of land for urban developments, road and rail construction not only causes habitat loss, but creates disturbance in the form of anthropogenic noise and light pollution. These can affect wildlife by causing alterations to behaviours necessary for survival, such as foraging, communication and reproduction, Anthropogenic noise is defined as unwanted sound generated by humans and is predominately caused by road traffic, aircraft and industrial works. Anthropogenic noise can interfere with an animal’s ability to hear important sounds, cause the animal to alter its behaviour.

The impacts of anthropogenic noise on wildlife present significant challenges for consultant ecologists and developers responsible for delivering new urban development in line with UK legislation which protects bats from disturbance. Despite a recent review, the impacts of noise on bats are not well understood. There’s lack of evidence-based guidance for mitigation of impacts according to species, behaviour and noise levels.

Working with industry and in partnership with RSK Biocensus to combine field experiments with before and after impact experiments to identify the impacts of anthropogenic noise on bats with a focus on Plecotus auritus and Rhinolophus hipposideros. We will assess the thresholds for disturbance, assess effects on roosting and emergence, foraging and commuting behaviour.

The project is supervised by Dr Emma Stone (University of Bath, Bat Conservation Research Lab) and Dr Paul Lintott (UWE, Ecology and Conservation Research Lab). The student will split time between the University of Bath and UWE, with the majority of time based at the University of Bath in the Bat Conservation Research Lab.

Data collection will involve night work surveying bats, conducting noise experiments at roosts and foraging areas and time working away unsupervised. Candidates should be reliable, resourceful and have a positive attitude to the challenges of field work. Experience of ecological niche modelling, field experiments, bat acoustic analysis and GIS is highly desirable. 

For a discussion, please email Paul Lintott 

Funding

The studentship is available from 01 April 2023 for a period of three years, subject to satisfactory progress and includes a tax exempt stipend, which is currently £17668 (2022/23) per annum. 

Full-time tuition fees will be covered for up to three years.

Eligibility

Applicants must have a strong background in biological science, with additional experience of geographical information systems, ecological niche modelling and statistical modelling. Having an aptitude for data analysis. Eligible applicants will have received an MSc and/or a First or high 2:1 BSc in a relevant subject. Experience of working with bats would be preferrable.

A recognised English language qualification is required. Candidates should be able to drive, as they will be required to go to research locations unsupervised which may not be accessible by public transport.

Candidates must be able to drive and will begin data collection from May/ June 2023. 

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