Opportunities

Now recruiting PhD students and Postdocs!

I am advertising several competitive Ph.D. studentships*. Successful applicants would begin in October 2021. Take a look at the project descriptions below and get in touch if you are interested. Please make informal inquiries prior to 15 December.
*interested applicants will work with me to develop and submit an application, the outcome of which will be known sometime in Spring 2021.

For information about joining as a post-doc, click here.

Durham is a charming market town, with a downtown area that doubles as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city of Newcastle is a short train ride away. For more information about living in and around Durham, click here.

I am a committed advocate for students and postdocs coming from backgrounds that have historically been marginalised in academic spaces.

Studentship Opportunities:

(1) The impact of competition on global-change induced range shifts in birds1

Many species of birds are currently undergoing rapid range shifts in response to human-induced changes. As their ranges change, species encounter new species with which they hadn’t before coexisted. Such novel interactions could markedly impact the future distribution of biodiversity. This PhD project will fill crucial gaps in our understanding of the consequences of recent range dynamics, using long-term monitoring datasets and datasets collected by citizen scientists to identify the relative impact of different kinds of species interactions in determining the rate and/or outcome of recent range shifts.
     The student would gain a number of highly transferrable skills, such as computational techniques, data organisation and management, and coding in R. In addition, the studentship provides a number of training opportunities, including several skills workshops and an opportunity to accompany a surveying team tracking breeding birds in the UK.

Co-Supervisors: Prof Kirsty Park (University of Stirling), Prof Stephen Willis (Durham University)
(For submission to NERC IAPETUS Doctoral Training Program competition)
1Intended largely for U.K. based applicants, though E.U. applicants are welcome to inquire

(2) Reproductive interference across continental scales: combining citizen science and behavioural experiments to test reproductive character displacement hypotheses2

Social interactions between species impact numerous ecological and evolutionary processes. For instance, wasteful reproductive interactions between species (reproductive interference) may prevent two species from coexisting in the same location unless natural selection drives divergence in traits used as mating signals. Demoiselle damselflies are a model system for studying the evolutionary consequences of social interactions between species. Yet, despite the fact that male damselflies initiate mating interactions, there has been little research into the mechanisms by which variation in female wing colour impacts male sexual responses. Consequently, there remains much unexplained spatial and temporal variation in reproductive interference, even in this model system.
     For this project, the student will take the lead on developing an ongoing citizen scientist scheme (https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/british-demoiselles) to quantify geographic variation in the wing coloration of female demoiselle damselflies on an unprecedented continental scale. In addition, the student will carry out fieldwork, conducting behavioural experiments to measure responses of male banded and beautiful demoiselles to variation in female wing colour. Combining these two approaches, this project will yield new insights into the evolutionary responses to reproductive interference that have made coexistence possible in these species.

Co-Supervisors: Dr Tom August (Centre for Ecology & Hydrology), Prof David Shuker (St. Andrews)
(For submission to NERC IAPETUS Doctoral Training Program competition)
2Intended largely for U.K. based applicants, though E.U. applicants are welcome to inquire

Postdoc Opportunities:

At the moment, I do not have funds to hire a postdoc. However, I would be glad to hear from folks interested in developing funding applications for postdoctoral fellowships (e.g., through Marie Curie Actions, Newton International Fellowships, or others). I am open to discussing the possibility of working remotely (i.e.,"ghostdoc"ing).