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Developing an effective ash-dieback Hymenoscyphus fraxineus detection, monitoring and modelling protocol using remote sensing and molecular screening.

Physical & Environmental Sciences - UK Jobs
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An opportunity to apply for a funded full-time PhD in the Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences, UWE Bristol.  The studentship will be funded by the Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences: Ref 2223-JAN-HAS07

The expected start date of this studentship is January 2023

 About the Studentship

The project aims to develop an effective ash-dieback detection and monitoring protocol in ash Fraxinus excelsior trees using a combination of field, laboratory and statistical approaches. Using emerging techniques in UAV-mounted multispectral sensors and qPCR testing, the project will investigate the environmental and physical conditions associated with the invasive ascomycete pathogen Hymenoscyphus fraxineus.

The overall aim will be met through a series of project objectives:

  1. Identify and map the presence of symptomatic and asymptomatic canopy ash trees using field signs and UAV multi-spectral imagery.
  2. Confirm the H. fraxineus infection status of all ash trees within study sites using DNA analysis.
  3. Investigate the symptom severity of infected ash trees using established health assessment criteria and correlate with pathogen density in tissue samples and in the environment.
  4. Model the infection probability and infection severity using environmental, spatial, physical and co-infection attributes.

For an informal discussion about the studentship, please email  [email protected] or [email protected]

Funding details

The studentship is available from 01/01/2023 for a period of three years, subject to satisfactory progress and includes a tax-exempt stipend, which is currently £16,602 per annum. 

In addition, full-time tuition fees will be covered for up to three years (Home/EU rates only). Overseas applicants will be required to cover the difference between Home/EU and the overseas tuition fee rates in each year of study.

Eligibility criteria

Applicants must have a BSc (2:1 or above) or equivalent degree in an appropriate discipline such as Plant Biology, Genetics, Molecular biology, environmental sciences or Forestry and ideally will have a Masters qualification from a UK university or a degree of comparable standing from a university outside the UK. The candidate’s degree relevant to the studentship should demonstrate their potential for practice-led research or alternative evidence of research aptitude. Experience in remote sensing, forestry fieldwork, tissue culture, plant-microbe interaction or woodland management would be desirable.

A recognised English language qualification is required. Applicants whose first language is not English require a recognised English language qualification. The minimum entry requirement is GCSE English at grade C or above or IELTS score 7.0 or TOEFL score 600 (or demonstrable equivalent).

How to apply

Please submit your application online. When prompted use the reference number 2223-JAN-HAS07.

Supporting documentation: you will need to upload as attachments to your application the following documents:

  • A curriculum vitae (maximum 3 pages)
  • Copies of academic transcripts
  • A covering letter outlining your suitability for the studentship
  • A recent piece of critical writing you have completed (max 3000 words)
  • If English is not your first language, certification of English language qualification

References: you will need to provide details of two referees as part of your application. Please ensure that your nominated referees are willing and able to provide references within 14 days of your application being submitted. 

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