A NERC-funded PhD studentship is available, related to the PREDICTS project, to be based in Andy Purvis's lab at the Natural History Museum. The topic is statistical modelling of how soil biodiversity and ecosystem function respond to human impacts in UK ecosystems. Paul Eggleton (NHM) and Tom Bell (Imperial) will be cosupervisors. The studentship will aim to combine new data collection, Citizen Science approaches, analysis of existing data already in hand from monitoring and survey projects around the UK, and compilation of already-published data from similar biomes worldwide. It will develop data-rich and policy-relevant models of how soil and litter community composition and rates of ecosystem processes will respond to predicted future changes in land use in the UK. Questions include:
- Are biotic responses consistent among major taxa, guilds and habitats, and can any differences be explained?
- Do spatial comparisons and time series data give the same results?
- How important is biodiversity per se – rather than land use and management – in shaping ecosystem function?