mercredi 10 mai 2017

PhD/GTA positon available: Impact of Cat Predation

In the College of Life and Natural Sciences, Department of Natural Sciences, University of Derby, we are looking for an interested, highly motivated postgraduate student for a General Teaching Assistantship (GTA) position (leading to a PhD) in Biosciences, who enjoys independent research. An interest in biodiversity conservation is a key requirement, and a background in two or more of the following would be useful: animal behaviour, small mammal trapping and surveying, small bird surveying, diet identification from faecal samples, general behaviour and ecology of domestic cats, and ecological consultancy. The project is for 3 years, and starts in September 2017. Applicants fulfilling the essential qualifications specified in the Personal Specifications are eligible. Funding will cover tuition fees at Home/EU level and pay a stipend of £14,553 for 3 years only. If your application is successful and you are assessed as Overseas for fees purposes, you will need to pay the difference between the Home/EU fees and the Overseas fees.
Project title: Impact of Domestic Cats (Felis silvestris catus) on British Wildlife
Predation by feral domestic animals can have a devastating effect on native fauna, especially on small island populations. For larger ecosystems, however, evidence for whether predation is mainly additive or compensatory is lacking. There is a large population of feral or free-ranging pet cats, with approximately 10 Million owned cats in Great Britain. Claims that cats are partly responsible for the decline of song-bird populations in Britain are based on the fact that free-roaming cats will kill birds and small mammals, even if fed by humans. However, whether estimated predation rates really affect populations has rarely been studied. The sole reliance on questionnaire surveys of cat owners is part of the problem of assessing the domestic cats' impact on wildlife. Only very recently has technology advanced to a state where cats can be fitted with light video-cameras that allow assessing the behaviour from the cats' points of view.
Based on this background, we are offering a fully funded GTA/PhD position to assess the true impact of cat predation on wildlife. The candidate would be using a combination of various techniques, including wildlife surveys, diet analyses, estimating predation rates using questionnaires, cameras and diet analyses, and home-range analyses. The candidate would also be expected to contribute to the delivery of the curricula relating to a range of undergraduate programmes of study within the Department of Natural Sciences.

Location: Bioscience discipline, College of Life and Natural Sciences, University of Derby
Funding: Funding will cover tuition fees at Home/EU level and pay a stipend of £14,553 for 3 years only.
Responsible to: Dr. Maren Huck, Lecturer in Animal Behavioural Ecology, and Dr. Gill Knight, Head of Bioscience
Entry Requirements: Candidates must have a first or upper second class honours degree in a zoology or biology-related subject. A higher postgraduate degree is desirable. Experience with at least one of small mammal trapping, bird surveys, and diet identification from faecal samples are desirable – for further information please refer to the person specification.

For informal enquiries please contact Dr. Maren Huck via e-mail ( or on 01332 592354.
How to apply: Complete applications should be forwarded to Stuart Wain at, quoting reference number L&NS_Cats_PGTA_0517
For details of how to apply, please see:
Closing date: 25th of June 2017, midnight
Proposed date of interview: 19th of July 2017
The official advert for the position can be accessed through: