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University of Bath

NERC GW4+ DTP Projects

Find out more about the PhD projects available via the GW4+ Doctoral Training Partnership, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

Projects led by University of Bath

Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering

Linking large-scale oceanic and atmospheric forcings to local scale flooding via machine learning

DTP Research Theme: Changing Planet
Lead Institution: University of Bath
Lead Supervisor: Dr Thomas Kjeldsen, University of Bath, Department of Architechture and Civil Engineering
Co-Supervisor: Dr Cecilia Svensson, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Wallingford
Project Enquiries: trk23@bath.ac.uk

This interdisciplinary project will combine skills in hydrology, climatology/ meteorology, statistical extreme value analysis, and big-data analytics. It will develop a new process-based approach to flood frequency analysis through the use of a novel combination of existing long-term flood flow observations and large-scale atmospheric and oceanic data sets.

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Department of Biology & Biochemistry

Adaptations of Antarctic penguins in a rapidly changing environment

DTP Research Theme: Living World, Changing Planet
Lead Institution: University of Bath
Collaborative Partner: British Antarctic Survey
Lead Supervisor: Dr Jane Younger, University of Bath, Milner Centre for Evolution
Co-Supervisor: Dr Phil Trathan, British Antarctic Survey, Ecosystems Team
Co-Supervisor: Dr Araxi Urrutia, University of Bath, Milner Centre for Evolution
Project Enquiries: jly26@bath.ac.uk

This project aims to contribute to understanding the impacts of climate change on Southern Ocean penguins by assessing how they are adapted to divergent environments now. This is a broad project with many possible lines of inquiry, and the candidate is encouraged to develop specific aims according to their own interests.

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Evolution of social genes across landscapes

DTP Research Theme: Living World
Lead Institution: University of Bath
Lead Supervisor: Professor Jason Wolf, University of Bath, Milner Centre for Evolution
Co-Supervisor: Prof Sam Sheppard, University of Bath, Milner Centre for Evolution
Co-Supervisor: Dr Alexander Hayward, University of Exeter, Centre for Ecology and Conservation
Co-Supervisor: Prof Christopher Thompson, University College London, Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment
Project Enquiries: j.b.wolf@bath.ac.uk

This project aims to characterise patterns of gene gain and loss (including the role of transposable elements as disruptors of gene function and facilitators of evolutionary change) across lineages sampled from natural populations. It will give a special focus to the degree to which social and non-social genes differ in their evolutionary properties.

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Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering

Dynamics of the Antarctic Atmosphere – From the Surface to the Edge of Space

DTP Research Theme: Dynamic Earth
Lead Institution: University of Bath
Lead Supervisor: Prof Nicholas Mitchell, University of Bath, Centre for Space, Atmospheric & Oceanic Science, Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering
Co-Supervisor: Dr Tracy Moffat-Griffin, British Antarctic Survey, Ice & Climate
Project Enquiries: N.J.Mitchell@bath.ac.uk

This project will use sophisticated radars, imagers and NASA satellites to answer fundamental questions about Antarctic MLT dynamics. It will investigate whether atmospheric tides raised by the moon transmit the influence of dramatic sudden stratospheric warmings into near-Earth space. It will combine radar, imager and satellite data to determine the coupling of waves and tides, and investigate how the Antarctic MLT responds to solar variability.

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Department of Mathematical Sciences

Multi-trait evolution in host-parasite systems

DTP Research Theme: Living World
Lead Institution: University of Bath
Lead Supervisor: Dr Ben Ashby, University of Bath, Department of Mathematical Sciences
Co-Supervisor: Dr Edze Westra, University of Exeter, Enrivonment and Sustainability Institute
Project Enquiries: b.n.ashby@bath.ac.uk

The central aim of the project is to develop general eco-evolutionary theory to understand how multi-trait co-evolution unfolds in host-parasite communities. You will be involved with project design and research direction under the guidance of the supervisors. For example, you may wish to explore when hosts are likely to evolve adaptive or innate immune responses, or whether parasites with broader host ranges will evolve to be more or less virulent.

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Projects led by the Natural History Museum

Students will be registered on a PhD programme at University of Bath.

Diversity and ecological function of fungi and protists in Antarctic and Arctic freshwater ecosystems

DTP Research Theme: Living World
Lead Institution: Natural History Museum
Lead Supervisor: Dr Anne D Jungblut, The Natural History Museum, Life Sciences Department
Co-Supervisor: Prof Edward Feil, University of Bath, Milner Centre for Evolution
Co-Supervisor: Dr David Bass, CEFAS, The Natural History Museum, Life Sciences Department
Co-Supervisor: Prof Warwick F Vincent, Centre for Northern Studies and Biology Department, Laval University, Canada
Project Enquiries: a.jungblut@nhm.ac.uk

The aims of this project are to perform a comprehensive environmental DNA diversity assessment of fungi and protists in lakes, meltwater ponds and streams across the Arctic and Antarctic, and characterize phylogenetic and biogeography relationships, and evaluate the relative importance of nutritional roles (heterotrophs: grazers, predators, parasites, symbioses) and autotrophs, and microbial consortia/biofilms in freshwater microbial mat ecosystems in the Polar regions.

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Evolutionary history of the ceratopsian ‘horned’ dinosaurs

DTP Research Theme: Dynamic Earth, Changing Planet
Lead Institution: Natural History Museum
Lead Supervisor: Dr Susannah Maidment, Natural History Museum, Department of Earth Sciences
Co-Supervisor: Prof Matt Wills, University of Bath, Milner Centre for Evolution
Co-Supervisor: Prof Paul Barrett, Natural History Museum, Department of Earth Sciences
Project Enquiries: susannah.maidment@nhm.ac.uk

The aim of this project is to build a total-group ‘supermatrix’ phylogeny of ceratopsian dinosaurs, and use it to examine macroevolution and palaeobiogeography in the group. The project will take existing sub-clade matrices, combine them, and then build on them by adding postcranial characters based on first-hand observations of ceratopsian dinosaur specimens in museum collections in Asia and North America. Analysis of the resulting character-taxon matrix will produce the first ever whole-group phylogeny of Ceratopsia. Diversity, disparity, and rates of evolution can then be analysed to assess hypotheses about radiation and competition within ceratopsid subclades.

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