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Name of scholarship/program

An integrated genetic approach to analysing the spatial ecology of bees and pollen (DTP 022 U13)

Important description
Bumblebees are essential pollinators of crops and wild flowers yet basic knowledge concerning their spatial ecology remains patchy. This project aims to use genetic markers (microsatellites) to investigate simultaneously the spatial ecology of bumblebees and the pollen that they carry and so improve our knowledge of the key ecosystem service of pollination. Using established techniques in bumblebees [1-4] and plants [5], the student will, within selected plant-pollinator systems in the field, sample bumblebee DNA from foraging workers and plant DNA from the pollen borne on the coats of foraging workers and from the visited plants. He/she will then type samples at a panel of species-specific microsatellite markers and estimate from the genetic data a set of spatial ecological and genetic parameters for both the bees and the pollen. The systems studied will be selected from bumblebee-pollinated crops or wild flowers for which microsatellite markers exist for both the pollinating bumblebee species and the pollinated plant. The data will allow novel tests of the interrelationships between the spatial ecology of bumblebees and the plants that they pollinate, such as whether an association exists between the number of bumblebee nests sending workers to plants and the number of potential plant mates whose pollen each plant receives. The student will join an active, well-funded research group with experience of all techniques to be used in the project. He/she will receive training in pollination ecology, entomology, plant biology, population genetics, microsatellite genotyping, sampling design and data analysis. In addition, he/she will have the opportunity to conduct original science with the aim of securing sustainable ecosystem services for the benefit of biodiversity and people.

In keeping with the postgraduate training policy of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) all students recruited onto this programme will be expected to undertake a three months internship during the second or third year of their degree. The internship will offer exciting and invaluable experience of work in an area outside of research, and full support and advice will be provided by a professional team from the UEA.

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the Norwich Biosciences Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) – a collaboration between the Norwich Biosciences Institutes and the University of East Anglia. For further information and application details please see the Norwich Biosciences DTP website: http://biodtp.norwichresearchpark.ac.uk/

Suitable applicants will be interviewed as part of the Studentship Competition. The interview dates will be the 10 and 11 January 2013.

Academic Entry requirements: A first or upper second class UK honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an appropriate area of science or technology.

Eligibility and other criteria
European/UK Students Only:
This research project has funding attached. Funding for this project is available to citizens of a number of European countries (including the UK). In most cases this will include all EU nationals. However full funding may not be available to all applicants and you should read the full department and project details for further information.

Application deadline
*07 December 2012

Additional information, and important URL

Funding for PhD studentships from BBSRC is available to successful candidates who meet the UK Research Council eligibility criteria including the 3-year residency requirements in the UK. These requirements are detailed in the BBSRC eligibility guidelines ( http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/web/FILES/Guidelines/studentship_eligibility.pdf ). In most cases UK and EU nationals who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the course are eligible for a full-award. Other EU nationals may qualify for a fees only award. All candidates should check the BBSRC eligibility guidelines to confirm their eligibility for funding.

The current stipend for 2012/13 is £13,590 per annum.

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