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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: Memorial University of Newfoundland, Newfoundland, Canada
Supervisor(s): Prof. Duncan Mcilroy (Memorial University of Newfoundland, Newfoundland), Dr. Rod Taylor (Memorial University of Newfoundland, Newfoundland)
Funding Status: Funding is in place for this project
Description: The Memorial University Palaeobiology Research Group are seeking high quality applications for a doctoral student position to study exceptionally preserved Ediacaran body fossils from the famous fossiliferous Mistaken Point assemblages and others on the Bonavista Peninsula of eastern Newfoundland. More information...
Expiry Date: Sunday, December 1, 2019
Institution: Newcastle University
Supervisor(s): Tom Nye (School of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics, Newcastle University), Martin R. Smith (Department of Earth Sciences, Durham University)
Funding Status: Funding is in place for this project
Description: We invite applications for a PhD position in statistics at Newcastle University. The project involves the development of a statistical model for the evolution of morphological traits. Evolutionary trees, or phylogenies, are typically estimated or reconstructed using genetic sequence data from present-day species. On the other hand, palaeontological data make a unique contribution to our understanding of evolution, but integrating such data with modern molecular-based analytical techniques is challenging. More information...
Expiry Date: Wednesday, January 1, 2020
Institution: University of Cambridge
Supervisor(s): Neil Davies and Daniel Field (University of Cambridge)
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: The interaction between physical alluvial processes and vegetation plays a major role in sedimentation, geomorphology, channel patterns and ecosystem functioning in rivers. The awareness of this importance has been used to construct non-actualistic conceptual models of alluvial processes and habitats that operated in the Palaeozoic and Precambrian, yet the Mesozoic – the time of the first flowering plants, the first grasses, a huge variety of terrestrial ecosystems that provided the theatre for dinosaur, bird and mammal evolution – remains unstudied from this perspective. More information...
Expiry Date: Tuesday, January 7, 2020
Institution: University of Cambridge
Supervisor(s): Neil Davies (University of Cambridge), Alex Brasier (University of Aberdeen) and Alex Liu (University of Cambridge)
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: The chemical weathering of terrestrial land surfaces occurs at the interface of the hydrosphere, geosphere and biosphere. It is a critical process within both the rock cycle and as a component of the global chemostat, regulating global element cycles, including atmospheric CO2, by mediating the release of solutes. More information...
Expiry Date: Tuesday, January 7, 2020
Institution: University of Cambridge
Supervisor(s): Neil Davies and Alex Liu, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: The colonization of the land by animal and plant communities was a crucial event in the evolution of life on Earth. A large amount of existing research into this area has previously been focussed on pushing back the earliest evidence of life on land or on understanding the crucial juncture of the Silurian (444-419 Ma) , when continental trace fossils rapidly increased in abundance and disparity across the globe. However, the climax of the terrestrialization process has been relatively overlooked. More information...
Expiry Date: Tuesday, January 7, 2020
Institution: University of Cambridge
Supervisor(s): Dr Emily Mitchell and Prof Andrea Manica, (Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge)
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: Animals first appear in the fossil record during the Ediacaran time period (631-541 million years ago). It is during the Ediacaran animals evolved some of their most important traits: most obviously large body-size but also tissue-differentiation, mobility, bilateral symmetry and ecosystem engineering (reef-building). The study of Ediacaran organisms is fraught with difficulties because commonly-used morphological approaches have only limited use due to the unique anatomies of Ediacaran organisms. More information...
Expiry Date: Tuesday, January 7, 2020
Institution: University of Liverpool
Supervisor(s): Dr Alana Sharp (University of Liverpool), Dr Nathan Jeffery (University of Liverpool), Dr Phil Cox (University of York)
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: Mammals have evolved diverse craniofacial morphology to adapt to a wide range of ecological niches. However, the factors driving this evolution of different morphologies and functions, and the mechanisms of evolutionary change are not fully understood. More information...
Expiry Date: Wednesday, January 8, 2020
Institution: University of Liverpool
Supervisor(s): Dr Karl Bates (University of Liverpool), Dr Katrina Jones (Harvard University), Dr Phil Cox (University of York), Dr James Gardiner (University of Liverpool)
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: Evolutionary shifts in locomotion underpin major ecological transitions in vertebrates. Our understanding of how key innovations in the locomotor system drive taxonomic and ecological diversity during evolutionary transitions is largely based on the limbs. However, recent studies demonstrate strong correlations between the morphology of the vertebral column and locomotor ecology, with elevated morphological disparity and evolutionary rates in axial regions linked with locomotor mechanics. More information...
Expiry Date: Thursday, January 9, 2020
Institution: Durham University
Supervisor(s): Dr. Martin R. Smith (Durham University), Dr. Tom Nye (Newcastle University), Prof. David Harper (Durham University)
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: 500 million years ago, life on earth was fundamentally transformed by the geologically rapid emergence of complex animal-dominated ecosystems. This ‘Cambrian Explosion’ permanently altered the dynamics of biology and geology on a planetary scale – but what evolutionary processes led to the sudden dominance of macroscopic organisms, and their concomitant interactions with the oceans, sediment and biosphere? More information...
Expiry Date: Friday, January 17, 2020
Institution: University of Edinburgh
Supervisor(s): Dr Sean McMahon (University of Edinburgh) Dr Geoff Bromiley (University of Edinburgh)
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: Summary This project will deploy cutting-edge experimental and micro-analytical techniques to test hypotheses about ancient bacteria and other micro-organisms in the fossil record. Project background More information...
Expiry Date: Tuesday, January 21, 2020

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