Degrees and courses for international students
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Research degrees
Research areas
Ecosystems and sustainability
Biodiversity and conservation

Biodiversity and conservation

In response to the current crisis of species extinctions across the globe, research within this theme focuses on the evolution and maintenance of biodiversity with particular emphasis on conservation biology. Various questions in evolutionary biology and population dynamics are addressed, through specialisms in behavioural ecology, environmental physiology and terrestrial microbial ecology. Emphasis is placed on the interpretation of long-term experiments.

A key area of this theme is understanding how land-use changes affect biodiversity, and how more effective conservation management can be developed. The School of Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences hosts the Floodplain Meadows Partnership, which specialises in the management, promotion and restoration of floodplain meadows. The ecology and conservation of a diverse range of plant and animal species is currently being studied, including brown hares in Yorkshire, bumblebees in Wiltshire and grassland ecology in Siberia. The techniques used range from field survey to experiments in controlled environments. There is a strong focus on citizen science approaches via Treezilla and iSpot.

Qualifications available

PhD or MPhil


For detailed information on current fees visit Research degree Fees.

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent) or an appropriate first degree and postgraduate qualification.

Potential research projects

We encourage enquiries from prospective students on any aspect of biodiversity and conservation ecology. Lists of postgraduate research projects likely to be available for a 2021 start will become available towards the end of 2020.

Please also see further opportunities.

Current/recent research projects

  • Nutrient availability in floodplain habitats
  • Response of grassland communities to water and nutrient availability
  • Plant community ecology on soil with fluctuating hydrology
  • Survival of microbes in extreme environments
  • Responses of grassland composition to climate change
  • Mammal conservation in tropical forests
  • Management of mineral extraction sites for wader conservation
  • Microbe interaction with minerals and microbial weathering of rocks

Potential supervisors


Seven Sisters National Park

Further information

If you have an enquiry specific to this research topic, please contact:

Michelle Aitken
Email: STEM-EEES-PhD-Admin
Phone: +44 (0)1908 332943