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Fully Funded PhD Studentship: "Resilience of agricultural ecosystems to biological invasions”
07.10.2014

The Coventry University, UK offers a fully funded PhD studentship to carry out research in the area: "Resilience of agricultural ecosystems to biological invasions”.

This studentship is located within the newly-established and prestigious University Research Centre - the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR) at Coventry University.

Invasive plant species negatively affect agricultural land causing potentially high crop losses if uncontrolled. Globalisation and climate change are increasing the invasion risk of non-native plants with potentially high negative impacts. Agricultural intensification has generally reduced biodiversity of agricultural land while less intensively managed land has still maintained higher levels of biodiversity. However, little is known if the level of intensification also influences the resistance of agricultural systems to invasions and their potential impacts.

The aim of this study is to address this issue in a review of available data on recent plant invasions of agricultural land and in a more detailed study focusing on farming systems in drylands. This main area of work will be conducted with partners (in Jordan, Mexico, South Africa, Spain) of the EU FP7 EcoDry project coordinated by CAWR. In particular, a case study will be conducted for Solanum elaeagnifolium, which is native in Mexico, and a known high impact invasive weed in Jordan and South Africa that has recently become established in parts of Europe including Spain. The results will contribute to a better understanding of how farm management influences resilience of agricultural systems in the context of biological invasions as well as informing risk assessments and management.

The Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR) is driving innovative, transdisciplinary research on the understanding and development of resilient food and water systems internationally. Food and water security is increasingly threatened by factors such as climate and environmental change, loss of biodiversity, conflict and market volatility. New knowledge, policies and technologies are needed to develop systems that are more resilient to change and which ensure the health of our food and water supplies. Through its focus on food and water, the Centre’s research develops and integrates new knowledge in social, agroecological, and environmental processes, as well as the pivotal role that communities play in developing resilience.

The full advert and application form can be accessed here:

http://www.coventry.ac.uk/research/research-students/research-studentships/resilience-of-agricultural-ecosystems-to-biological-invasions/

Informal enquiries may be addressed to:

Dr. Katharina Dehnen-Schmutz
ab6340@coventry.ac.uk

Eligibility: UK/EU Students Only

Award Details: Tuition Fees + Bursary £13,863 per year (tax-free)

Duration: 3 years Fixed Term (January 2015 start)

Application deadline: November 3rd 2014

Interview Date: Will be notified to shortlisted candidates

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