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Full-time PhD Studentship in "Plant-community assembly on a soil with fluctuating hydrology"

England

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Based in Milton Keynes (The Open University)Three years six months from Spring 2015Funding information:This project is funded by the Eranda Foundation and the Floodplain Meadow Partnership and supervised by Professor David Gowing. The studentship is fully funded for 3.5 years, covering tuition fees (at UK/EU level) and provides a stipend of £13,863 per year. This project aims to understand how plant communities come together around seasonal pools, where the soil varies between being very wet and very dry within the same year. The communities growing here are often of great conservation importance in their own right (e.g. the turloughs of Ireland), but they also offer an opportunity to investigate the fundamental processes of how plants compete with one another for resources in a constantly changing environment.Grassland ecologists at the Open University have been studying plant competition for over twenty years. A particular specialism has been describing the way plant species are favoured or excluded by the water regime of the soil. A number of high impact papers have been produced on the topic (e.g. Silvertown et al. 1999; Araya et al. 2011) and a particular focus has developed on the ecology of floodplain meadows (Gowing et al. 2002, 2005.) This project hopes to build on our knowledge of how plant communities behave in floodplains with the goal of comparing the behaviour of species experiencing water levels that fluctuate widely every year to those on soils with a relatively stable regime.You should have the following qualifications: A first degree in an ecological or environmental subject with evidence of good numeracy skills. Informal enquiries relating to the project or candidate suitability should be directed to ######### . To apply, please send an email/letter together with your CV, a completed application form (attached) and a personal statement (outlining your suitability for the studentship, what you hope to achieve from the PhD and your research experience to date), to the following mailbox: ######### or by post to the Research Co-ordinator, Science Deanery, K Block, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA. Closing Date: 3pm Friday 19 December 2014Shortlisting will take place during the week of January 5th with the interviews following during the week of January 20th. Equal Opportunity is University Policy.

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