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Cambridge NERC Doctoral Landscape Awards (Training Partnerships)

Graduate Research Opportunities

Work in the departments of Archaeology, Earth Sciences, Genetics, Geography, Plant Sciences, Zoology, and at BAS examines ecology, land use, population genetics, microbiology, physiology and adaptation, palaeobiology and conservation.


This project will compare historical surveys with present day distributions to quantify spatial, temporal and taxonomic patterns in the overlooked but rapid disappearance of many molluscan species.
This project will investigate spatial and temporal patterns of parasites within native and invasive freshwater snails to develop and test fundamental concepts in host-parasite relationships. The effects of parasites on conservation and behaviour can be studied.
You will work on one of the great enduring mysteries of plant evolution: how and why betalain pigmentation evolved to replace canonical anthocyanin pigmentation.
The evolution of eukaryotes was one of the defining transitions in the evolution of life on Earth, but their pre-Ediacaran fossil record remains deeply challenging
Diverse, abundant and exceptionally preserved fossils in the mid-Miocene Clarkia Formation offer one of the most complete views a a palaeo-lacustrine ecosystem on record
Systematic interrogation of the mineralogy and microstructure of Edicacaran-Recent sponge spicules will yield a fundamentally new account of both spiculogenesis and diagenesis in basal metazoans
We hypothesise that bees not only benefit plants through pollination, but they may also carry viruses that help protect plants from herbivorous insects
We will improve knowledge of rainforest responses to climate change by applying transformative approaches that allows imagery from cheap drones to be used to track the response of individual tree species to periods of drought
This project explores how we might monitor progress towards the sustainable agriculture target (Target 10) of the Global Biodiversity Framework, which includes 'a substantial increase in the application of biodiversity-friendly practices in agriculture'.
Study the genetic species structure and signals of adaptation in closely related willow species from present-day samples and ancient environmental DNA from the last 50k years.
Use large scale genome sequencing and evolutionary genetics to identify and study genes involved in adaptation and speciation in an iconic evolutionary radiation.
Preferential clearance of flatter and lowland tropical forests means remaining habitat tends to be on steeper slopes: this PhD tackles the key question of what are the implications of steeper tropical forests for biodiversity and carbon stocking?
This PhD tackles the key question of how different forms of restoration – natural regeneration, plantations, and on-farm approaches – impact carbon and biodiversity in African savanna woodlands.
How can insects maintain water-proofing, lubrication and adhesion at different temperatures?
Innovative controlled-environment and field experiments on tree growth will be used to improve plant growth models for climate change applications.
Effects of plant biodiversity on the responses of terrestrial ecosystems to environmental change will be studied using a modelling approach
Terrestrial ecology is a poorly understood component of the global carbon cycle - this project will investigate the mechanisms responsible for the observed spatial and temporal variability in global land-atmosphere CO2 exchange using a new terrestrial ecosystem and land use model.
This project will investigate the mechanisms responsible for the formation of tree rings in seasonal climates, with implications for our understanding of carbon sequestration, tree ecology, and dendroclimatology.
This project aims to understand the evolution and development of nectar spurs, because they drive reproductive isolation and speciation in both plants and insects.
This project aims to understand both how and why some flowers produce angle-dependent colours, known as iridescence.
In this exciting project you will work as part of a team to understand the development and evolution of sexually deceptive petal spots in a South African daisy, and to explore how they influence pollinator behaviour in the field.
As English Oak (Quercus robur) trees can live for >1,000 years, there is a high potential for the genome and epigenome to evolve along branches - this project will use long-read DNA sequencing to map genome evolution within ancient oak trees and relate this to ecological adaptation.
This project will use a combination of experimental fieldwork and modelling approaches to understand the mechanisms and functions of synchronised calling in cicada swarms.
This project will study variation in melanism in a moth and test the hypothesis that it represents an adaptation to climate.
By applying genomics to the use of insects as food, you will be using cutting edge technology to improve global food security
This project will determine how the sexes divide up the various duties of care when they cooperate to raise young together, and investigate whether task specialisation by each sex causes the evolution of sexual dimorphism
This project will determine whether selection acts on the family as a unit, as well as on the individuals within it, and investigate the evolutionary causes and consequences of multi-level selection on animal families.
Obtain new insights into the early evolution of animals from exceptional fossil sites in Namibia.
Investigate the role played by environmental and geographic conditions in facilitating the greatest radiation event in animal evolution.
How have the planet's smallest animals impacted the Earth's surface over the course of geological history?
By integrating genetics, ecology, and climate, you will investigate the key drivers that shaped species diversity in the African continent.
This project will investigate how different processes influence the early evolution of animals in the Ediacaran time period.
Identify emission reduction pathways along the agricultural supply chain under climate change scenarios.
Here, we will determine the genetic and developmental mechanisms underlying novel trait emergence - haplochromine egg-spots in Malawi cichlid fishes - using a combination of population genomics, developmental genetics tools and field work.
Using population genomics, regulatory genomics and genome wide association studies, we will identify and characterise loci associated with sexual dimorphism and sexual conflict in the cichlid species A. calliptera, and determine how such conflict signatures influence male ornament variation and adaptation to the surrounding environments.
Investigating the demography, genetics and life histories of prehistoric peoples using computational simulation methods and machine learning.
Using a combination of field and lab-based work, this project will investigate management options for developing more varied and resilient habitats, to help protect species from the impacts of climate change.
This project will work with a network of oil palm farmers in Peninsular Malaysia to quantify the impacts of alternative oil palm understory management practices (including traditional blanket spraying with herbicides, circular spraying around palms, and livestock grazing) on temporal fluctuations in invertebrate communities and associated ecosystem processes in oil palm.