In the current ‘Era of the Anthropocene’, global human impact is fundamentally altering ecological processes on earth. Thus understanding and predicting how biodiversity will respond to environmental change has become one of the most pressing questions for ecological research. Biodiversity responses to global change are ultimately mediated by proximate behavioural processes of individual organisms, affecting energyintake and expenditure and exposure to risks, and ultimately the distribution and demographic performance of individuals. Movement in particular is a key behavioural response to environmental change determining shifts in the abundance and range of species, yet we still lack the ability to understand and predict in a robust way why, and where, animals move.
The goal of this PhD project is to build upon the exceptional opportunities offered by a large set of sub-second biologging (accelerometer, magnetometer) and GPS data collected by an ongoing large UK-France collaboration and aFrench ANR-funded project running until 2020 (“Mov-It”), which yield sub-second movement paths with associated information on the detailed behaviour, individual state and energy expenditure of each individual, collected on over 100 individuals of five wild ungulate species and three domestic ones, from six contrasting study areas across France, to develop novel mechanistic, predictive models of individual and species responses to environmental change. This will be achieved by tackling three inter-related, incremental objectives. Firstly the student will quantify movement decisions and costs under different constraints (e.g. food, weather, disturbance); then incorporate the estimated costs functions into Agent Based Models and multi-objective optimisation functions to model and map the full set of biologically realistic movement strategies under environmental change in complex, real landscapes. Thirdly, the student will develop from the modelling results a scenario planning tool for managers and landscape planners, allowing to build predictive models of individual movements and population and species redistributions under different scenarios of environmental change and management decisions. These aims will be further facilitated bythe availability of a rich set of biological knowledge on the demography, lifehistory and ecology of the species obtained by thelong-term study sites.
Furthermore, the student will profit from novel statistical and mathematical methods which we have developed to handle such complex, big data and novel quantitative models of animal movement, and to include currencies such as movement costs. Most importantly, the project is based on the understanding that there is not one single solution, in a given landscape, that solves the complex cost-benefit problem facing a herbivore forchoosing where to be, what to do, how long to stay, and where to move next. Thus we look forward to work with an enthusiastic, creative, dedicated student to solve this “MovementRubik’s Cube”.
ANR-funded project consortium (Mathieu Garel- French Game and Wildlife management Office; Jean-Michel Gaillard- Laboratoire de Biométrie et Biologie Evolutive, Lyon University; Mark Hewison- National Institute for Agronomy Research, Toulouse)
A total of 18 months will be spent in France, and 18 months in the UK.
- The candidate should hold a Master’s degree in a relevant discipline (behaviour ecology, quantitative ecology, modelling, mathematics) or be expected to gain one by October 2018, or have a university degree equivalent to a European Master's (5-year duration). Highly developed modelling expertise, and knowledge of movement ecology, will be required. Informal enquiries
before the closing date are welcome by emailing email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com.
firstname.lastname@example.org. and email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org :
Academic References– all scholarship applications require two supporting references to be submitted.
Please ensure that your chosen referees are aware of the funding deadline, as their references form a vital part of the evaluation process. Please either include these with your scholarship application or ask your referees to send them directly by email.
Academic Transcripts and Degree Certificates – academic transcripts and degree certificates mustbe
submitted along with the scholarship application bythe funding deadline. We will be using these to verify your academic qualifications.
CV –please include a recent CV
A short presentation describing your final year scientific project (2 to 3 pages max)
A motivation letter
Applicants should comply with the application procedure at Swansea University, that is to download the research scholarship application formand return it to the College of Science with all the above mentioned documents.
These documents can also be posted at
Recruitment and Marketing Team, College of Science
Wallace Building, Swansea University
Swansea SA2 8PP, UK
Application deadline: 15/09/2018 at 17:00 (CET)
Applications will be evaluated through a three-stepprocess:
1. Eligibility check of applications in 16/09/2018
2. 1st round of selection: the applications will be evaluated by a Review Board in September 2018. Results will be given by end of September 2018.
3. 2nd round of selection: shortlisted candidates willbe invited for an interview session in Grenoble inearly October 2018 if necessary.
TYPE of CONTRACT: temporary-3 years of doctoral contract
JOB STATUS: Full time
HOURS PER WEEK: 35
OFFER STARTING DATE: 15 December 2018
APPLICATION DEADLINE: 15/09/2018
This is a three year fully-funded College of Science, Swansea University/Université Grenoble Alpes scholarship, open to UK/EU candidates which includes an annual stipend of £14,777 plus full UK/EU tuition fees.
Salary: between 1768.55 € and 2100 € brut per month(depending on complementary activity or not)
Grenoble University : 50% of the funding
Swansea University: 50% of the funding