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«Nottingham Trent University Doctoral School School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences PhD Projects 2016 Welcome to the Nottingham Trent ...»

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In order to be eligible to apply, you must hold, or expect to obtain, a UK Master’s degree with a minimum of a merit, and/or a UK 1stClass/2.1 Bachelor’s degree in biology or chemistry or related subject. The minimum English language proficiency requirement for candidates who have not undertaken a higher degree at a UK HE institution is IELTS 6.5 (with no element to be below 6.0).

Contact: anne.coules@ntu.ac.uk or gareth.cave@ntu.ac.uk for informal discussions about this project. Applications should be made to the Doctoral School – www.ntu.ac.uk/doctoralschool Trophic cascades: the role of apex predators in Europe’s modern human-dominated landscapes Competitive interactions among mammalian carnivores strongly influence the structure and dynamics of ecological communities and a thorough understanding of those interactions is important for practical management and conservation purposes. For example, the removal of apex predators can have negative effects at lower trophic levels by allowing populations of mesopredators to increase. This can intensify predation pressure on prey species and diminish ecosystem function.

In several areas in Europe, reintroduction of apex predators (i.e. wolves and lynx) to areas where they have become extinct is a current topic of debate. Further understanding of the role of apex predators on the functioning of ecosystems is required to better inform such discussions and future management.

This study will model the interactions between apex predators (i.e. wolves and lynx), meso-predators (e.g. fox) and small mammals in a range of study areas across Europe;

1) the ecological and anthropogenic determinants of carnivore density in Europe’s modern human-dominated landscapes and; 2) the ecological consequences of the density of apex predators on the functioning of trophic systems.

Publications

Rozen-Rechels, D., van Beest, F., Richard, E., Uzal, A., Medill, S. and McLoughlin, •

P. D. 2015. Density-dependent, central-place foraging in a grazing herbivore:

competition and trade-offs in time allocation near water. Oikos 124(9): 1142– 1150.

Van Beest, F.M., Uzal, A., Vander Wal, E., Laforge, M., Contasti, A. L., Colville, D.

• and McLoughlin, P. D. 2014. Increasing density leads to generalization in both coarse grained habitat selection and fine-grained resource selection in a large mammal. Journal of Animal Ecology 83: 147–156.

St John, F.A.V., Keane, A. M., Edwards-Jones, G., Jones, L., Yarnell, R.W. and • Jones, J.P.G. 2011. Identifying indicators of illegal behaviour: carnivore killing in

human-managed landscapes. Proceeding of the Royal Society B. DOI:

10.1098/rspb.2011 Chapron G., Kaczensky JDC., López-Bao, JV, et al. 2014. Recovery of large •

carnivores in Europe’s modern human-dominated landscapes. Science, 346:

1517-1519.

Supervisors: Dr Antonio Uzal, Dr Richard Yarnell and Dr. José Vicente López-Bao (external) Supervisor biogs Dr Antonio Uzal lectures Wildlife Conservation. Dr. Uzal has previously worked as a freelance consultant in wolf conservation in Spain. In the UK Dr Uzal has worked for Reading University and The Game and Wildlife Conservancy Trust. Dr Uzal's doctorate (Bournemouth University) studied the ecology and impacts of Sika deer on lowland heath.

His last publications have been focused on the spatial and population dynamics of wild horses. Currently Dr. Uzal is supervising two PhD students.

Dr Richard Yarnell is a Principal Lecturer in Biodiversity Conservation, and has research interests in ecology and conservation of mammals. Dr Yarnell leads the Ecology and Conservation Research Group, and has current research projects in the UK and Southern Africa. He is also a member of the IUCN Hyaena Specialist Group. Currently he is supervising four PhD students and has supervised another four PhD students to completion.

Dr José Vicente López-Bao holds the prestigious Juan de la Cierva fellowship at Research Unit of Biodiversity (UO-CSIC-PA), Oviedo University, Spain. Dr. López-Bao has developed his research career integrating quantitative and multidisciplinary approaches to achieve solutions to ecological, conservation and management problems using carnivores as model species. His focus is on the ecology, conservation and management of these species in human-dominated landscapes. He is a member of the Canid Specialist Group at IUCN and supervises PhD / MSc projects focused on large carnivores in humanized landscapes.

Entry Requirements To be eligible to apply, you must hold, or expect to obtain, a UK Master’s degree (or equivalent according to NARIC) with a minimum of a merit/commendation, and/or a UK 1st Class/2.1 Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent according to NARIC) in Ecology, or related subject. The minimum English language proficiency requirement for candidates who have not undertaken a higher degree at a UK HE institution is IELTS 6.5 (with no element to be below 6.0).

Contact: antonio.uzal@ntu.ac.uk for informal discussions about this project. Applications should be made to the Doctoral School – www.ntu.ac.uk/doctoralschool Vision and Equestrian Performance Performance in equestrian sport is guided by two different visual systems, that of the human and that of the horse. These two systems have to coordinate and control what is essentially one pattern of movement and the resultant athletic performance is the consequence of the interaction of two different perceptual experiences. Successful equestrian performance relies on the horse responding to signals from the rider and moving in the required direction at the required speed. Although it is clear that these signals are generated by the combined use of the rider’s arms, legs, body and head, the impact that human visual behaviour has on the resultant performance has yet to be determined.





As has been demonstrated in other sports, equestrian athletes develop sport-specific visual skills. We found a relationship between the ability to recall features of equestrian images (show-jumps) and rider experience. Using mobile eye-tracking equipment we have also identified features of rider gaze behaviour during the approach to a jump.

However, the relationship between human visual behaviour, the development of visual skills and the behaviour and performance of the horse requires further evaluation.

This is an inter-disciplinary project (Equine Science and Psychology) that aims to evaluate the impact of human visual behaviour on the behaviour and performance of the horse.

Publications

Hall, C., Varley, I., Kay, R., Crundall, D. 2014. Keeping your eye on the rail:

• Factors affecting gaze behaviour in horse riders approaching a jump. PLoS ONE 9(5) e97345.

Hall, C., Robins, M., Varley, I., Crundall, D. 2011. Gaze behavior of show-jumping • riders when they approach a jump. Journal of Veterinary Behavior 6: 290-291.

Murphy, J., Hall, C.A., Arkins, S. 2009. What horses and humans see: A • comparative review. International Journal of Zoology (available online).

Hall, C., Liley, C., Murphy, J., Crundall, D. 2009. The relationship between visual • memory and rider experience in a show-jumping context. The Veterinary Journal 181: 29-33.

Crundall, D. 2016. Hazard prediction discriminates between novice and • experienced drivers. Accident Analysis and Prevention 86: 47-58.

Supervisors: Dr Carol Hall and Professor David Crundall Supervisor biogs Dr Carol Hall is a Reader in Equitation Science, with research interests in human gaze behaviour in equestrian sport, equine perception and the welfare of ridden horses. Dr Hall is a member of the International Society for Equitation Science, on the board of the National Equine Welfare Council and is a qualified riding instructor (British Horse Society Intermediate Instructor). Dr Hall has supervised 3 PhD students to completion and is currently supervising a further 3 PhD students.

Professor David Crundall has conducted theoretical and applied research for a variety of funders including RCUK, several Government department and agencies, charities and private companies. Current research interests include the process of learning to drive, a cognitive approach to situation awareness, hazard perception and the investigation of eye movements in applied setting. Dr Crundall has supervised 6 PhD students to completion and is currently supervising one further PhD student.

Entry Requirements

In order to be eligible to apply, you must hold, or expect to obtain, a UK Master’s degree (or equivalent according to NARIC) with a minimum of a merit, and/or a UK 1stClass/2.1 Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent according to NARIC) in equine studies, psychology or related subject. The minimum English language proficiency requirement for candidates who have not undertaken a higher degree at a UK HE institution is IELTS 6.5 (with no element to be below 6.0).

Contact: carol.hall@ntu.ac.uk for informal discussions about this project.

Applications should be made to the Doctoral School – www.ntu.ac.uk/doctoralschool Genome-wide Analysis Reveals that Light-emitting Diode (LED) Light Regulate Plant Growth and Development Light is one of the most important factors regulating plant growth and development.

Plants respond to spectral quality by altering their morphology. This creates canopies that permit the plant to intercept light at high efficiency and drive photosynthesis to produce adequate yield. LEDs now offer cheap, cool, controllable sources of light that can selectively and quantitatively provide different wavelengths. We can also provide photons by light-sensing photoreceptor that can trigger many biological processes, including gene regulation, plant hormone signal transduction and secondary metabolism.

Our aim is therefore to undertake research into the optimised set of wavelengths needed to maximise yield and resource use efficiency of these plants. We expect to be able to create an LED lighting system that can be programmed to generate an optimised wavelength recipe unique for each plant species and varieties. RNA-Seq analysis will be performed and the role of key regulatory genes associated with high efficiency of photosynthesis, optimal growth and development will be evaluated in bioassays, which includes mapping regulatory components conferring LED light response, making miRNA and over-expressed gene constructs with generation of transgenic plants (tomato) and analysis of their phenotype.

Publications

Bian Z, Cheng R, Yang Q, Wang J & Lu C (2016) Response of Lettuce to • Continuous LED Light in Relation to Nitrate Content, Phytochemical Concentrations and Antioxidant Capacity, Journal American Horticultural Sciences (in press).

Tyler AM, Bhandari DG, Poole M, Napier JA, Jones HD, Lu C and Lycett GW (2015) • Gluten quality of bread wheat is associated with activity of RabD GTPases, Plant Biotechnology Journal, 13(2), 163-176.

LU C JIANG N, and GRUNDY S (2016) Energy use efficiency for future agriculture •

- the effect of LED light on plant growth and quality in vegetables, Acta Horticulturae (in Press) Pan Y, Bradley G, Pyke K, Ball G, Lu C, Fray R, Marshal A, Ayasuta S, Baxter C, • Wijk R V, Boyden L, Cade R, Chapman NH, Fraser PD, Hodgman C and Seymour G (2013). Network Inference Analysis Identifies an APRR2-Like Gene Linked to Pigment Accumulation in Tomato and Pepper Fruits. Plant Physiology. 161, 1476Pan Y, Seymour GB, Lu C, Hu Z, Chen X and Chen G (2012). An Ethylene • Response Factor (Erf5) Promoting Adaptation To Drought And Salt Tolerance In Tomato. Plant Cell Reports. 31(2), 349-60 Supervisors: Prof Chungui Lu and Prof Graham Ball Supervisor biogs Dr Lu has just been appointed Professor of Sustainable Agriculture in NTU. He has gained a considerable amount of work experience in genomics, plant molecular biology and horticulture. He has a few research projects funded by Innovate UK and BBSRC focusing on the plant growth and health for optimal crop yield in LED horticulture, energy saving greenhouse and plant genomics. He has successfully supervised 10 PhD students who have graduated.

Professor Graham Ball’s group has an international track record in the bioinformatics, especially gene regulatory networks analysis. Current research interests have focused on the development and application of bioinfomatic algorithms using Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) to medical diagnostics and plant science. He has joint MRes research projects with Prof Lu. He has previously supervised 6 doctoral students to completion as first supervisor and 15 as second supervisor.

Entry Requirements

In order to be eligible to apply, you must hold, or expect to obtain, a UK Master’s degree (or equivalent according to NARIC) with a minimum of a merit, and/or a UK 1stClass/2.1 Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent according to NARIC) in plant genomics, or related subject. The minimum English language proficiency requirement for candidates who have not undertaken a higher degree at a UK HE institution is IELTS 6.5 (with no element to be below 6.0).

Contact: Chungui.Lu@ntu.ac.uk for informal discussions about this project.

Applications should be made to the Doctoral School – www.ntu.ac.uk/doctoralschool Multi-N foliar-applied fertiliser for improving N use efficiency in wheat Nitrogen (N) pollution from fertilisers is a global problem. Foliar application and absorption of nitrogen (N) has been explored for many years, with showing that various plant species can rapidly absorb N (and other elements) through the leaf. However, one issue with foliar application is that it can scorch the leaves. Furthermore, research is not clear about the mechanism of the foliar use efficacy because little is known about the complicacy of plant processes governing nutrients uptake (absorption, remobilisation) and utilization.



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