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PhD studentship

PhD studentship available for October 2012
Catchment and riparian subsidy effects on upland stream ecosystems


Dr Isabelle Durance, Dr Ian Vaughan and Prof Steve Ormerod


The project

Headwater stream ecosystems are tied closely to their surroundings through physical, geochemical and ecological processes that extend from the riparian zone to the whole catchment.  Although of long-standing interest, these linkages are still sketchily understood despite their pivotal importance in the effects of climate and land-use change on stream ecosystem services.


Working on replicate streams in the Llyn Brianne Stream Observatory and linked closely to the NERC-funded  ‘DURESS’ project in Cardiff School of Biosciences, this studentship will use a blend of unique long-term data, process studies and whole-stream experiments to test hypotheses about:


i) The consequences of long-term changes in catchment land-use for stream-catchment linkages and stream organisms at Llyn Brianne


ii) The extent of energetic subsidies generated by different riparian canopies at different distance from stream shorelines


iii) The effects of water quality, land use and hydrology on the annual dynamics, ecological effects and fate in streams of riparian subsidies


iv) The potential contribution of riparian subsidies to whole stream production and metabolism.


The three supervisors blend expertise in ecosystem ecology, data analysis and freshwater sciences and the student will gain transferable skills such as GIS, remote sensing, multivariate analysis, experimental ecology and the use of stable isotopes.  The ongoing 32-year investigation, large volumes of existing data and instrumentation at Llyn Brianne add considerable value to the project and provide the opportunity for high profile publications. 


The need to interact with local land owners means that some knowledge of the Welsh language will be an advantage.

Apply on-line at:

Closing date:  April 16th.

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