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Two exciting new PhD opportunities with the FMP

We have two brilliant opportunities to work on a CASE studentship, an industry supported research project, which gives the best students an opportunity to undertake a PhD whilst working with industrial partners, developing a wide range of skills to take to future employers. 

1. Floodplain-meadow management in a changing environment

This PhD will consist of:

•              Field trials of conservation-management relevance in a rare and threatened habitat

•              Working with a range of end-users 

•              Interdisciplinary approach informing nature-conservation policy 

The study would aim to supply evidence of the synergy between sustainability and production. There has been no such trial to date to inform the development of agri-environmental policy.  The need for such evidence is urgent in the context of the UK needing to re-evaluate and reformulate its policy post Brexit.  The student would spend time working in the commercial world and the third sector in addition to time in a University setting.  This diversity of environments would give a broad transdisciplinary training for an environmental scientist. 

Training and skills aquired include CENTA2 Training Credits (CTCs), botanical identification skills, laboratory skills and statistical analysis skills.

The industrial partners (FAI farms, Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust and The Milton Keynes Parks Trust) will each supply the land for experimental work and will be centrally involved in the design and management of the experimental treatments.    

For more infomation about this PhD see here http://www.open.ac.uk/science/environment-earth-ecosystems/sites/www.open.ac.uk.science.environment-earth-ecosystems/files/files/O8%20Gowing.pdf and details on the application process here http://www.open.ac.uk/science/environment-earth-ecosystems/phd-studentships/how-apply​

2. Response of meadow species assemblages along a hydrological gradient and impacts on the movement and fate of carbon in the plantsoil system.

This PhD will consist of:

  • Research on the coexistence mechanisms in species rich meadows using hydrological and microbiological methods  
  • Contribute on the understanding of linkage between biodiversity and hydrological gradient  
  • Explore the fate of carbon in species rich meadows along a hydrology-biodiversity gradient

The study would aim to explore hthe link between biological species composition and the flows of carbon to and from the soil and the resulting impacts on carbon sequestration by investigating the species response, carbon balance and resilience of multi-species plant assemblages to imposed hydrological change.

The work will involve two aspects:

  1. A mesocosm experiment. 1, 3, and 7 species mixtures will be grown along 4 water table depths at the OU’s experimental mesocosms. Carbon flows from plant to soil and back to the atmosphere will be monitored. In addition there is the potential for stable isotope of PLFA/NLFAs probing to be used to identify 13C taken up by different groups of soil organisms. Plant species cover, biomass production will be also be monitored.
  2. The field work will be on a floodplain meadow in the UK. The work will mirror the experimental setup, with a botanical survey, carbon & mycorrhizal assessments and eco-hydrological monitoring.

More information about this PhD http://www.open.ac.uk/science/environment-earth-ecosystems/sites/www.open.ac.uk.science.environment-earth-ecosystems/files/files/O2%20Araya.pdf

The deadline for applications is 12pm (noon) on 21st January 2019. Inofmation for applications for both PhD opportunities here http://www.open.ac.uk/science/environment-earth-ecosystems/phd-studentships/how-apply​