Ecology MPhil/PhD

Major code: ESLP/ESLM


About us

Ecology

With our long history of research in ecology and marine biology, we’ve been given an influential role in solving today’s pressing environmental problems.

Ecology is one of the four subject disciplines within the School of Environmental Sciences and our thriving postgraduate community’s central to our research activities.

We’ve over 90 active PGR students with 25 PGR students working across our research clusters.

The University’s recently invested £7 million in marine ecology, which includes a new research vessel used for both research and teaching.

Our work on the vulnerability of marine species and habitats to fishing and coastal development’s being used to develop sustainable management plans by agencies such as the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea.

Another hot topic we’re studying is the impact of burning upland vegetation on ecosystem carbon storage, water quality and biodiversity.

Your training and education

We aim to produce researchers with strong, transferrable research skills, who are internationally recognised in their own fields and understand current environmental and academic research problems.

You’ll develop your research skills primarily by completing a project under supervision. These skills include:-

  • data collection
  • manipulation of the data
  • data interpretation and modelling
  • critical analysis
  • literature surveys
  • presentation skills, through international conferences

We’ll also encourage and train you to publish academic papers. It’s not unusual for students to students leave with 2-3 papers published in international peer-reviewed journals.  Examples of recent publications by our Postgraduate students can be found here

Self-learning comes first

On our postgraduate research programmes you’ll be responsible for your own learning, but within a highly supportive training framework.  Co-ordinated by the University Graduate School, this includes:-

  1. Supervision by named research staff members who are experts in their fields.
  2. Membership and interaction with the groups within our four research clusters.
  3. Independent monitoring of your progress.
  4. Comprehensive postgraduate training.
  5. A vigorous School research environment.
  6. Opportunities to present work within and outside the School.

If you are interested in advertised PGR topics, or are interested in joining our PGR community please contact the relevant PGR contact:

Earth’s Interior Dynamics: Dr Dan Faulkner (faulkner@liv.ac.uk)

People, Space, place: Dr. Olivier Sykes (ollys@liv.ac.uk)

Earth’s Changing Environment: Dr David Hodgson (hodgson@liv.ac.uk)

Oceans and Ecosystems: Dr. Fabienne Marret-Davies (F.Marret@liv.ac.uk)

Staff research interests

Staff research interests.

Claire Mellett

I have a comfortable office with access to all the resources I need. If equipment and facilities are in high demand, the staff in the department do everything they can to help you gain access. When I have requested specialist books they have been ordered for me. If the university doesn’t have a particular resource they help me gain access to it through other universities.

Which department/school are you in?

School of Environmental Sciences

What year of your postgraduate study are you currently in?

2nd year

Can you summarise the work you are undertaking in your postgraduate programme/research in a few sentences?

I am testing a hypothesis that claims the English Channel was carved by a catastrophic flood from a lake that was ponded in the southern North Sea when sea-level was much lower than it is today. To achieve this I am using sedimentary archives to reconstructing past environmental conditions and processes operating over the last 500,000 years.

What were your main reasons for choosing to undertake postgraduate study/research at University of Liverpool?

I completed my masters degree here and felt comfortable and happy in the department.

How do the facilities in the department/university help you in your studies/research?

I have a comfortable office with access to all the resources I need. If equipment and facilities are in high demand, the staff in the department do everything they can to help you gain access. When I have requested specialist books they have been ordered for me. If the university doesn’t have a particular resource they help me gain access to it through other universities.

What kind of support do you get from tutors/supervisors?

Although my supervisory team have very busy schedules they always try to make time for me. They are both supportive and critical and encourage me when I am under pressure.

Describe a typical week for you in relation to your studies/research.

The research is so varied so no week is the same as the last. I am away on fieldwork quite often working on research ships but when I am in the university I am processing data on the computer and in the labs, writing up results, preparing for conferences and demonstrating to undergraduate students.

What do you enjoy most about the whole postgraduate experience?

The opportunity to spend all your time working on one specific project. There are no boundaries and you are flexible to develop your own research, there is no limit to what you can achieve as a postgraduate if you have support from your supervisors.

What do you feel has been your biggest achievement so far?

Getting accepted for the PhD was a huge achievement as competition for places is huge. Overcoming challenges and difficulties within the research project that at the beginning seemed impossible, but after time start to become less daunting.

What kind of support do you get from your fellow students/friends/research groups?

The support from other postgrads is invaluable especially those that are further along in their PhD. They know what the common problems are and help you through them. It is also nice to help new PhD students judging from your own experiences.