Project description:
For candidates interested in Marine Science. Marine community and food web models are used to predict energy fluxes, relationships among species and effects of fishing on ecosystem structure and dynamics, such as trophic cascades. These models are sensitive to assumptions about prey size and species selectivity, shifts between benthic and pelagic pathways and changes in the coupling of these. Predators feeding across both benthic and pelagic pathways may be more resilient to perturbation. Stable isotopes can be used to establish the source of carbon in a species diet (δ13C) and trophic position (δ15N), therefore quantifying the level of benthic-pelagic coupling for a range of species and complementing diet analysis. Combined stable isotope and diet analyses will allow:
1. use of hierarchical modelling to link coupling to environmental variables such as temperature, depth, mixed layer depth, seasonality and primary production;
2. assessment of coupling dynamics with body size of predators and prey using novel Bayesian mixing models which enable improved estimates of dietary proportions to be made using variable trophic enrichment factors derived from the literature;
3. new applications of community and food web models to predict whether changes in coupling identified in (1) and (2) lead to systematic changes in community structure and its response to exploitation in different environments.

Person Specification
Candidates will have a minimum of/or expect to achieve a first-class or upper-second-class degree in a relevant subject or international equivalent. An MSc/MRes will be an advantage.

Further information
For further details about this post and how to apply can be found athttp://www.ncl.ac.uk/postgraduate/funding/search/list/ma020

Other Benefits: A full award covers tuition fees at the UK/EU rate and an annual stipend of £13,726 (2013/14). Indicative value (over four years): student stipend £54,904, tuition fees £15,600, consumables (‘RTSG’) £11,000, contribution by CEFAS (Lowestoft) to stipend and travel and subsistence costs of visits there.