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PhD Opportunities

This lists details the PhD projects that we are aware of. They are by no means exhaustive and the institutions listed, and others, may well be offering additional projects. Further details for many of these projects are already available on institutional websites. Note that application deadlines can be as early as January, and interviews usually take place during the period January-April.

To add a PhD opportunity please use our online form: Add a PhD Opportunity.

Notices with expiry dates before this date are not shown.
You may filter by the project funding statues.
Institution: University of Manchester
Supervisor(s): Dr Robert Sansom (University of Manchester), Dr Russell Garwood (University of Manchester), Prof Roy Wogelius (University of Manchester), Dr Bart Van Dongen (University of Manchester)
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: The Cambrian origin and diversification of animals is a major event in the history of life on earth. Our understanding of this event is almost entirely reliant on fossils from this period, but interpreting them is fraught with difficulty; many of the relevant organisms were soft-bodied and as such, their tissues have been transformed and become incomplete during the processes of decay and fossilization. Recent focus on soft tissue preservation has revealed that patterns of missing data can distort evolutionary inferences (Sansom et al. More information...
Expiry Date: Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Institution: University of Birmingham
Supervisor(s): Dr Stephan Lautenschlager (University of Birmingham), Dr Richard Butler (University of Birmingham), Dr Bhart-Anjan Bhullar (Yale University), Dr Martin Ezcurra (Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales ‘Bernardino Rivadavia’, Buenos Aires)
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: Birds, dinosaurs, crocodilians, and pterosaurs all belong to the clade Archosauria, an extraordinarily diverse group that dominated terrestrial tetrapod faunas worldwide for nearly the entire Mesozoic Era, and is still highly successful today, with birds comprising around a third of extant tetrapod biodiversity. The diversification of archosaurs during the Triassic following the end-Permian mass extinction event fundamentally reshaped ecosystems on land. More information...
Expiry Date: Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Institution: Swedish Museum of Natural History
Supervisor(s): Dr. Steffen Kiel (Swedish Museum of Natural History)
Funding Status: Funding is in place for this project
Description: PhD position in paleobiology More information...
Expiry Date: Saturday, January 28, 2017
Institution: University of Leicester
Supervisor(s): Prof. Mark Purnell (University of Leicester), Dr Stephen Brusatte (University of Edinburgh), Dr Thomas Williamson (New Mexico Museum of Natural History), Prof. Sarah Gabbott (University of Leicester)
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: Project Highlights: Use new techniques to shed fresh light on a long-standing evolutionary question – the diversity of mammals after the extinction of dinosaurs Acquire a suite of skills for quantitative statistical analysis of textures, morphology and evolutionary patterns Opportunities to travel to collect data from fossil collections across Europe and the US, and conduct fieldwork in New Mexico More information...
Expiry Date: Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Institution: University of Bristol
Supervisor(s): Prof Daniela Schmidt (Bristol), Prof Steve Barker (Cardiff University)
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: In 2014 the IPCC stated that “natural global climate change at rates slower than current anthropogenic climate change caused significant ecosystem shifts and species extinctions during the past millions of years”. There is obvious concern over the impact the current unprecedented rate of change will have on marine ecosystems and the services these provide. More information...
Expiry Date: Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Institution: Durham University
Supervisor(s): Dr. Martin R. Smith (Durham University), Dr. Tim Raub (University of St Andrews), Prof. Dave Harper (Durham University), Dr. Jean-Bernard Caron (Royal Ontario Museum & University of Toronto)
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: The early stages of the Cambrian witnessed an unmatched period of ecological escalation, culminating in the establishment of biological communities with a fundamentally modern constitution. Such assemblages are briefly visible in sites of exceptional soft tissue preservation such as the mid-Cambrian Burgess Shale — but such sites offer a restricted sampling of palaeoenvironments and time, and largely post-date the period of the Cambrian ‘explosion’ itself. More information...
Expiry Date: Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Institution: University of Bath
Supervisor(s): Nick Longrich (University of Bath)
Funding Status: Funding is in place for this project
Description: How do mass extinctions destroy, and create, biodiversity? As the most recent of the ‘Big Five’ mass extinction events, the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction at 66 Ma has the most complete fossil record, and is an ideal study system for understanding the role of catastrophic environmental change in driving extinction and evolution. The K-Pg extinction was a severe event, wiping out upwards of 75% of all species on the planet; it was a global event, hitting all continents and all oceans; and it was an extraordinarily rapid event, taking place over perhaps a decade or less. More information...
Expiry Date: Friday, February 3, 2017
Institution: University of Brighton
Supervisor(s): Dr Susannah Maidment (University of Brighton), Prof Paul Barrett (Natural History Museum), Prof Chris Joyce (University of Brighton)
Funding Status: Funding is in place for this project
Description: Fossils of the armoured dinosaurs (Thyreophora) are found worldwide during the Mesozoic, but much remains unknown about their evolution. The aim of this project is to use observations of fossil material and state-of-the-art computational techniques to produce the first phylogeny of Thyreophora. This will be used to examine the tempo and mode of evolution, when and how key innovations evolved, and to interrogate existing palaeogeographic scenarios based on geological data alone. More information...
Expiry Date: Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Institution: University of Leeds
Supervisor(s): Dr. Crispin Little (SEE), Professor Simon Poulton (SEE), Dr. Christian März (SEE), Dr. Fiona Gill (SEE), Dr. Jim Riding (BGS, CASE)
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: One of the many detrimental effects of future climate warming will be the expansion of oxygen minimum ‘‘dead zones’’ in shallow marine areas, leading to the loss of commercially important fish and invertebrate stocks (1). General circulation models predict that climate change will directly deplete oceanic dissolved oxygen levels by increasing stratification and warming, as well as indirectly by causing changes in rainfall patterns, nutrient run-off and shelf eutrophication; all of which will increase marine areas affected by hypoxia and anoxia. More information...
Expiry Date: Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Institution: University of Leeds
Supervisor(s): Dr Alex Dunhill (Leeds), Dr Daniel Hill (Leeds), Dr Erin Saupe (Oxford), Prof. Paul Wignall (Leeds)
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: The modern-day latitudinal diversity gradient (LDG) is a keystone ecological pattern based on the decrease in biodiversity from the equatorial to polar regions. Understanding the processes that generate the LDG is critical for predicting the loss of biodiversity as a result of climate change. The fossil record provides a unique record on the evolution and dynamics of LDGs and suggests that the modern-day distribution of biodiversity has not been consistent over the past 500 million years (Mannion et al. 2014). More information...
Expiry Date: Wednesday, March 1, 2017

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