|UK Students, EU Students, International Students
|£18,622 annual stipend
|13th February 2024
|26th March 2024
Dr Sarah Crowley, Centre for Geography and Environmental Science, University of Exeter
Prof Robbie McDonald, Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter
Prof Stuart Bearhop, Centre for Ecology and Conservation, University of Exeter
Popular recreational activities such as walking (especially with dogs), running, and cycling might all disturb songbirds, which could affect their behaviour, breeding and, ultimately, their populations. Since the pandemic there has been both an increase in outdoor recreation and a rise in dog ownership. Previous ecological studies of recreational disturbance have focused on waders and seabirds in open and coastal landscapes. However, the impacts of recreational activities are also likely to occur in a broader range of habitats, including woodland, shrubland and heath.
The student will have the opportunity to develop a distinctive and impactful conservation project that will investigate the effects of disturbance on wildlife while also considering the spatial patterns of recreational activities, particularly dog walking. The research will require an interdisciplinary approach, including social research to understand the practices and perspectives of site users. The methodology will include a comprehensive review of current evidence and gaps; impact evaluation through population surveys and monitoring of breeding success; and analysis of the factors affecting variation in the scale and form of disturbances. These might include habitat, site topography and access, or user behaviour and characteristics. Ecological studies will be complemented by practice-oriented social research, including an intervention study to evaluate the effectiveness of management approaches. This is expected to involve working with site managers to experiment with evidence-based measures aiming to minimise disturbance through site design, access and/or user engagement.
The studentship will be awarded on the basis of merit for 3.5 years of full-time study to commence on 23 September 2024. International applicants need to be aware that you will have to cover the cost of your student visa, healthcare surcharge and other costs of moving to the UK to do a PhD.
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