|Funding for:||UK Students, International Students|
|Funding amount:||£17,668 p.a. stipend|
|Placed On:||10th March 2023|
|Closes:||26th April 2023|
Funding providers: Bertarelli Programme for Marine Science and Swansea University's Faculty of Science and Engineering
Subject areas: Marine ecology, Molecular biology, Conservation genomics
Project start date: 1 October 2023 (Enrolment open from mid-September)
The diet of adult green turtles in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) has previously been assessed via stomach analysis (Stokes et al. 2019 https://doi.org/10.1007/s00227-019-3584-3) but the diet of immature hawksbill and green turtles in key developmental habitats in the region remains poorly understood. We propose to explore traditional and novel approaches to investigate diet of immature turtles using a range of techniques that include DNA metabarcoding (from swabs of the oesphageal entrance and cloaca) and stable isotope analysis via sampling of potential prey items (encrusting benthic taxa including seagrass, algae, corals and sponges), as well as taking tiny shell, tissue and blood samples from the turtles. Samples will be processed and analysed using established methods in Swansea University laboratories.
This PhD is primarily laboratory-based using emerging DNA technologies and bioinformatics (e.g., Python) and will suit a candidate with an interest in conservation genomics and developing a suite of laboratory techniques.
There is scope for the student to develop the specific objectives of the project but suggested aims include:
The PhD research is part-funded by the Bertarelli Programme for Marine Science to characterise foraging ecology of sea turtles in the WIO. This research is one of the priorities of the United Nations Environment Programme IOSEA Marine Turtle MoU.
Candidates must have either a first class or 2.1 honours degree and/or a distinction at Masters’ level in a relevant biology degree (or Non-UK equivalent as defined by Swansea University).
Experience with laboratory work and a postgraduate degree (MRes or MSc) based around laboratory analysis would be desirable. The candidate should have skills to develop one or more of the areas above. These skills should include being accomplished in data analysis with the ability to manipulate large data sets using R, ArcGIS or other software.
English Language requirements: If applicable – IELTS 6.5 overall (with at least 6.0 in each individual component) or Swansea recognised equivalent.
This scholarship is open to UK fee eligible candidates and international fee eligible applicants living in an Indian Ocean regional country (limited to South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, Mauritius, Comoros, Tanzania, Seychelles, Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti, India, Pakistan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Yemen, Oman).
Please visit our website for more information on eligibility.
This scholarship covers the full cost of tuition fees and an annual stipend at UKRI rate (currently £17,668 for 2022/23).
Additional research expenses will also be available.
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