In response to the current crisis of species extinctions across the globe, research within this theme focuses on the evolution and maintenance of biodiversity with particular emphasis on molecular evolution and conservation biology. Various questions in evolutionary biology and population dynamics are addressed, through specialisms in behavioural ecology, environmental physiology, population genetics, and terrestrial microbial ecology. Emphasis is placed on the interpretation of long-term experiments. A key area of this theme is understanding how land management impacts upon biodiversity in the environment, and on the development of more effective management options to conserve the diversity of plant species. The Department of Environment, Earth and Ecosystems hosts the Floodplain Meadows Partnership, which specialises in the management, promotion and restoration of floodplain meadows in England and Wales. The ecology/conservation of a diverse range of plant and animal species is currently being studied, including butterflies in Puerto Rico, dung flies in Cambridgeshire and grassland ecology in South Africa. The techniques used range from measurements in the field to population genetics. There is a strong focus on citizen science approaches via the Evolution Megalab and iSpot.
Potential research projects
We encourage enquiries from prospective students on any aspect of biodiversity and conservation ecology. Lists of postgraduate research projects likely to be available for a 2014 start will become available towards the end of 2013.
Please also see further opportunities.