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PhD Studentship: Predicting Migration Success in Atlantic Salmon using a combination of Telemetry, Genomics and Morphometrics

University of Hull

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Kingston upon Hull
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: a personal stipend (tax-free allowance that you don’t have to pay back) at Research Council UK (UKRI) rates for 3.5 years; university fees; generous support for research costs, fieldwork, training and conference travel
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 24th November 2023
Closes: 5th January 2024

Project description:

Many diverse species have a migratory component in their life cycle, and during migration, they are exposed to a particular suite of selection pressures. Migration is typically challenging, and mortality can be high, so understanding the likelihood of success for particular individuals can help conservation scientists predict what the evolutionary response of a population might be to these challenges. Advances in telemetry (where individuals are tagged and tracked), mean that biologists can now combine behaviour and genomic data to better understand this, and this is particularly important where anthropogenic barriers to migration affect populations, such as in freshwater river systems.

Our project will combine telemetry and genomics data to study this question in UK populations of Atlantic Salmon, an iconic and key-stone migratory species which has suffered severe population declines throughout Europe over the last 70 years. It will also allow us to assess whether parallel responses evolve independently using the same genetic pathway, or whether there are multiple routes to solving the same evolutionary problems, which will provide a powerful insight into the ability of species to adapt to environmental change.

This interdisciplinary project will use the synergy between two research groups at the University of Hull - HIFI (Hull International Fisheries Institute) and EvoHull (Evolutionary and Environmental Genomics group) and study the parallel evolutionary response to anthropogenic selection. We work in close partnership with the Environment Agency, Atlantic Salmon Trust and SCENE (Scottish Centre for Ecology and the Natural Environment) in freshwater rivers on tracking the movement and migration of Atlantic salmon. The collaborative and interdisciplinary nature of the project means that the student will become experienced in a wide range of skills, from field and lab work to bioinformatics.

This project will provide students with a full PhD studentship. This consists of:

  • a personal stipend (tax-free allowance that you don’t have to pay back) at Research Council UK (UKRI) rates for 3.5 years
  • university fees
  • generous support for research costs, fieldwork, training and conference travel.

Eligibility:

  • Minimum 2:1 Bachelors’ degree in a field linked to the PhD project. Note that we have recruited successful PhD candidates that changed fields completely. Quite often your skills are more important than specific knowledge that you have.
  • You can apply straight after a Bachelors’ degree, but you will need to show how you are competitive with those with a Masters:
  • Draw on skills you have developed in situations other than your undergraduate project e.g. student work experience, programming etc.

Apply now, by clicking the 'Apply' button, above.

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