PhD Studentship Improving the conservation value of urban areas for birds

Application deadline: 15th November 2013

Funding availability: This is a fully-funded, 3 year PhD Project (European/UK Students Only), providing all tuition and research fees and a Research Council-rate Stipend.

This PhD Studentship will be available for start on 1st January 2014 and will be supervised by Dr Mark Fellowes, on the Whiteknights Campus of the University of Reading.

This project will focus on investigating methods to improve the conservation value of gardens for birds, providing future evidence-based conservation methods. Millions of pounds a year are spent on wildlife gardening, but few have studied the efficacy of these commonly used measures. More data are needed to understand the survivorship of common garden birds and the significant causes of mortality and in turn which measures are most effective in improving fecundity and survivorship. The project will use a combination of techniques to research this, including bird ringing.

A ‘A’ or ‘C’ bird ringing permit and a strong ecological background are highly desirable. The ability to work with the public is essential. The applicant should have at least a 2:1 university degree in zoology, biology or other related subject.

The supervisor is Head of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Reading, has published extensively on interactions between species and currently supervises five PhD students, working on topics including urban conservation. For more information please contact Dr Mark Fellowes (

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To apply, please send a CV with academic record and a Cover Letter via the Apply button below explaining your motivations for applying for this Studentship.

The deadline is 15th November 2013. Shortlisted applicants with be contacted soon thereafter for interview.

Recent Publications:
Thomas, R.L., Baker, P.J. and Fellowes, M.D.E. (2013) Ranging characteristics of the domestic cat (Felis catus) in an urban environment. Urban Ecosystems. (In Press).

Smith, L.S. and Fellowes, M.D.E. (2013) Towards a lawn without grass: the journey of the imperfect lawn and its analogues. Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes. ISSN 1943-2186 doi: 10.1080/14601176.2013.799314 .

Campbell, H., Fellowes, M.D.E. and Cook, J. (2013) Arboreal thorn-dwelling ants use domatia morphology to partition nest sites on the savanna ant-plant, Vachellia erioloba. Insects Sociaux. (In Press).

Campbell, H., Townsend, I.R., Fellowes, M.D.E. and Cook, J.M. (2013) Thorn-dwelling ants provide antiherbivore defence for camelthorn trees, Vachellia erioloba, in Namibia. African Journal of Ecology. ISSN 1365-2028 (In Press).

Orros, M.E. and Fellowes, M.D.E. (2012) Supplementary feeding of wild birds indirectly affects the local abundance of arthropod prey. Basic and Applied Ecology, 13 (3). pp. 286-293. ISSN 1439-1791 doi: 10.1016/j.baae.2012.03.001.

Thomas, R.L., Fellowes, M.D.E. and Baker, P.J. (2012) Spatio-temporal variation in predation by urban domestic cats (Felis catus) and the acceptability of possible management actions in the UK. PLoS ONE, 7 (11). e49369. ISSN 1932-6203 doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0049369. 

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