'Annual cycles in the behaviour and energetics of seabirds: implications for demography in a changing environment'
Supervisors: Dr Jonathan Green, Dr Francis Daunt, Professor Sarah Wanless and Professor Jason Matthiopoulos
Description: During my PhD I will use existing data from biologging devices to quantify the annual behavioural and energetic budgets of key UK seabirds (common guillemots, Atlantic puffins and razorbills). Using this information I will identify locations and times of high stress (or energetic bottlenecks) throughout the year. I will then model behavioural decisions, based on intrinsic and extrinsic drivers, and the subsequent demographic consequences. Understanding the influence of environmental conditions on changes in the behaviour and energetics of apex predators is relevant both to the ecology of protected species and also to the resilience of the ecosystem they inhabit. - Email Ruth
My Website: http://seguliverpool.wixsite.com/home/ruthdunn
Description: - Email Marcelo
'Does personality drive plastic responses to the changing polar ecosystems?'
Supervisors: Dr Samantha Patrick, Dr Sebastien Descamps, Dr Lynne Sneddon
Description: My research interests are in understanding drivers of individual success in animals. My PhD looks at consistent individual behavioural differences, or personalities, in seabirds, and how personality may influence responses of individuals, and ultimately populations, to environmental change. Working on declining seabird populations in the Arctic and the Antarctic, I hope to combine personality data with information on foraging movements, reproductive success and environmental data, to improve understanding of how behaviour and environment interact to determine individual success.
'Intrinsic and extrinsic drivers of reproductive success: an energetics approach'
Supervisors: Dr Jonathan Green, Dr Sarah Burthe, Dr Francis Daunt
Description: My research interests lie in using energetics as a framework to try and understand intrinsic and extrinsic drivers of reproductive skew. My PhD focuses on how parasitism interacts with environmental conditions in a population of European shags Phalacrocorax aristotelis and how this may constrain reproductive success. I use accelerometers to calculate energy expenditure and fine scale behaviour of these diving seabirds and combine this with long term data on parasite load, breeding success and environmental variables. I’m interested in individual differences within a population and how this drives reproductive skew and population level processes. - Email Olivia
'Non-linear responses of a seabird top predator to coastal marine environmental change'
Supervisors: Dr Francis Daunt, Dr Sarah Burthe, Dr Jonathan Green
Description: I am primarily interested in breeding biology and the environmental drivers of variation in reproductive output. My current research focuses on the links between diet and demography in a Euroepan shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis population, breeding on the Isle of May, Scotland and how these relationships change over time. I am also interested community ecology, in particular responses of individuals and ecosystems to environmental change. By gaining a more comprehensive understanding of how species respond to environmental perturbations we can make more informed decisions to help conserve species and habitats in the future. - Email Richard
Social dynamics in foraging behaviour of colonial breeding seabirds
Supervisors: Dr. Jonathan Green and Dr. Samantha Patrick
Description: My research interests are focused on sociality in seabirds as well as the effects of individual variation in social interactions. Using bio-logging technology, my PhD work will track the individual foraging movements of a small colony of Australasian gannets. Using a social network approach, I will assess variation in social foraging behaviours and use this data to help understand the potential for seabirds to utilise social information while foraging. Website link: http://seguliverpool.wixsite.com/home/teri-jones - Email Theresa
'Vertical stratification of ants in tropical rainforests'
University of Liverpool and Natural History Museum London
Supervisors: Dr Kate Parr (UoL), Dr Matthew Spencer (UoL) and Dr Paul Eggleton (Natural History Museum, London)
Description: Tropical rainforests are threatened by logging, fragmentation and habitat modification. Up to 60% of all arthropod biomass can be accounted for by ants. These ants play important and varied ecological roles and are often considered as indicator species. Improving understanding of the ecology of this taxa will aid future ecological predictions for modified forests. My research aims to quantify interactions between ant communities in different strata. Specifically I will try to determine to what extent ground ants influence the spatial distribution of arboreal and subterranean ants. I also aim to try to quantify to what extent ground ants influence resource use and predation in the canopy. To achieve this I will be sampling in an experimental suppression plot where the ground ants have been removed. - Email Stephanie
Group website: http://funkyant.weebly.com/
'Fire and herbivory in the Serengeti'
Supervisors: Dr Kate Parr (Uni of Liverpool), Dr Colin Beale (Uni of York)
Description: Fire is ubiquitous in African savannahs and is one of the most common management activities undertaken in African protected areas. Savannas are highly dynamic systems and fire is a critical component of their ecology, fires alter how herbivores use the landscape and alter grazing pressure as a result. In turn, herbivores can remove grass that would otherwise burn and modify or prevent fire spread across the landscape. Understanding the environmental conditions and fire characteristics which attract or disperse herbivores and the interactions between fire and grazing is therefore critical to successfully managing savannah ecosystems. - Email James
'Individual plasticity and the response to a changing environment'
Supervisors: Dr Samantha Patrick, Dr Jonathan Sharples and Dr Jonathan Green
Description: Widespread evidence is mounting that individual animals display consistent behavioural differences. I am interested the role of environmental stability in shaping these behaviours, and hope to investigate how they will in turn influence the response of different populations and species to our changing climate. Seabirds are top predators in many ecosystems and are well suited for tracking studies. As such, they are valuable indicators when studying the marine environment, where food availability is typically patchy. I hope to combine habitat mapping and predictive modelling to further our understanding of interactions between seabirds and their environment, integral for conservation of marine vertebrates. - Email Alice
Group website: seguliverpool.wix.com