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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 Russell J. Garwood (University Of Manchester), Dr Romain Tartese (University Of Manchester), Prof Roy Wogelius (University Of Manchester), Prof Ray Burgess (University Of Manchester), Dr David Wacey (The University of Western Australia)
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: Chert is a key lithology for the preservation of Precambrian life. These rocks, which are composed primarily of microcrystalline silica, host a myriad of important remains of early life. The lithology is so important due to the high fidelity preservation of fossils and the chemical traces of life that result from its fine grain size and high resistance to weathering and metamorphic alteration. This is coupled with modes of formation that are often found in near surface environments. More information...
Expiry Date: Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Institution: University of Birmingham
Supervisor(s): Dr S K Thorpe (University of Birmingham), Prof W Sellers (University of Manchester)
Funding Status: Funding is in place for this project
Description: Bipedalism and the extraordinary manipulative abilities of the human hand, that are central to tool use and technology, are widely considered to be two of the major hallmarks of humanity. Their evolution was thought to be temporally separate; with short hands and precise manipulative abilities attainable only after the hands were freed from the demands of arboreal locomotion by the evolution of terrestrial bipedalism. More information...
Expiry Date: Friday, February 8, 2019
Institution: The Open University
Supervisor(s): Dr Angela Coe (The Open University), Dr Bryony Caswell (University of Hull), Dr Karen Bacon (University of Leeds), Dr Scott Hayward (University of Birmingham), Dr Luke Mander (The Open University)
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: The increases in atmospheric concentrations of CO2 (pCO2), that are associated with climate change, cause decreases in the nutritional value of plants to the herbivorous insects that feed upon them. In turn, these changes in plant quality are a key determinant in the reproduction and survival of herbivorous insects at both the individual and the population scale. By investigating past periods of global warming with high atmospheric pCO2 over long timescales we can increase our understanding of the nature and scale of potential future changes in insect-plant interactions. More information...
Expiry Date: Thursday, February 21, 2019
Institution: Durham University
Supervisor(s): Dr. Martin Smith (Durham University), Dr. Tom Nye (Newcastle University), Dr. Richard Walters (Durham University)
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: There is no substitute for palaeontological data in the reconstruction of deep evolutionary history. Phylogenetic analysis plays a key role in converting morphological observations to biological insights, but current approaches (parsimony or the Mk model) do not provide a satisfactory representation of phenotypic evolution. More information...
Expiry Date: Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Institution: University of Leicester
Supervisor(s): Prof. Mark Purnell (University of Leicester), Prof. Sarah Gabbott (University of Leicester), Dr Thomas Clements (University College Cork), Dr Neil Davies (Cambridge University), Dr Alex Liu (Cambridge University)
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: Project Highlights: Use state of the art instruments and quantitative approaches to address significant problems in taphonomy, exceptional preservation, and early animal origins Develop a range of skills in experimentation and analysis, applied to palaeobiology Join a dynamic multidisciplinary group working across the interface of geology, palaeobiology and surface metrology (engineering) More information...
Expiry Date: Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Institution: University of Bristol
Supervisor(s): Prof Philip Donoghue FRS (University of Bristol), Dr Michael Steiner, Frei (University, Berlin), Prof Matthew Wills (University of Bath), Prof Davide Pisani (University of Bristol)
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: The fossil record of animals begins in the Cambrian (541 to 485 Ma), evidencing the evolutionary assembly and dramatic radiation of the modern animal phyla. Famously, this episode is particularly well documented by sites of exceptional fossil preservation where fossilization extends beyond routine preservation of bones and shells, to the preservation of soft tissue anatomy that normally rots away. More information...
Expiry Date: Monday, July 1, 2019
Institution: University of Bristol
Supervisor(s): Michael J. Benton (University of Bristol), Andrew Newel (British Geological Survey), Matt Wills (University of Bath)
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: The Carnian Pluvial Episode (CPE) was identified in 1989, but its timing, drivers, and impacts have only been recognised recently. The CPE was triggered by Wrangellia LIP eruptions which led to global warming, extreme humidity on land, acid rain, and ocean acidification and anoxia. The CPE not only killed as many as 50% of species, but triggered a burst of recovery of reefs and neopterygian fishes in the sea, and dinosaurs on land. The CPE ranks with the ‘big five’ mass extinctions, and yet it has been little noticed, and not studied. More information...
Expiry Date: Monday, September 30, 2019
Institution: University of Bristol
Supervisor(s): Prof Emily Rayfield (Bristol), Prof Roger Benson (Oxford), Prof Phil Donoghue (Bristol)
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: The overall aim of this PhD project is therefore to determine how vertebrate skeletal form relates to the accommodation of functional loads over evolutionary timescales. In doing so the project will also seek to determine the role of non-functional constraints in the evolution of skeletal form – particularly phylogenetic and constructional constraints – and determine how this varies across the skeleton (e.g. crania versus postcrania) and between clades. More information...
Expiry Date: Monday, September 30, 2019

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