The Environmental Sciences subject community (representing the Geography & Environmental Studies Unit of Assessment) at the University of Gloucestershire are offering studentships for MSc by Research covering 12-month tuition fees for a UK/Home student, fieldwork and incidental costs and a £1500 student stipend. This is available for the following three projects starting 01 February 2022.

Project: Investigating the Mitotoxicity of Fluoroquinolones
Lead Supervisor: Dr Robbie Baldock (RBaldock@glos.ac.uk)
Other supervisors: Dr Lynsay Cooper, Dr Daniel Stones
Fluoroquinolone antibiotics are a vital tool in the fight against progressing antimicrobial resistance – one of the greatest threats to public health globally. Severe and potentially permanent disabling side-effects have been reported in a yet unclear proportion of patients prescribed fluoroquinolones. Provisional evidence suggests that side-effects are linked to mitochondrial DNA damage. This project aims to uncover whether there is a genetic basis for side effects observed with these drugs by studying mitochondrial DNA repair. Crucially, uncovering genetic links to the severe side effects would potentially allow us to screen out individuals at greatest risk of adverse reactions before prescribing. This project will involve mammalian cell culture, flow cytometry, fluorescence microscopy and a range of molecular biology techniques. Full training will be provided to the candidate. Experience in any of the above would be an advantage.

Project: Impact of predator-proofing nestboxes on chick food provision rates: an unintended negative consequence?
Lead Supervisor: Prof Anne Goodenough (aegoodenough@glos.ac.uk)
Other supervisors: Prof Adam Hart
Bird nestbox schemes constitute an extremely valuable conservation strategy, especially for declining migrants species such as Pied Flycatcher and Redstart. However, while nestboxes provide optimum nesting microclimates, predation risk from mammals including Grey Squirrel, Stoat and Pine Marten is substantially elevated: several nestbox modifications have been developed to mitigate this. It is always assumed that predation-prevention strategies provide net benefit to birds, but preliminary work shows there are unexplored unintended consequences relating to parasite levels and chick feeding rates. This project will explore and quantify these risks to assess whether predation-prevention strategies are advantageous or disadvantageous overall for avian conservation.
Specific requirements: Fieldwork will form a substantial part of this project and, because of the location of the field site, you would need access to a car during the field season (April-July).

Project: Evidence To Save The Planet: Developing A Practitioner-Led Conservation Research Agenda
Lead Supervisor: Dr Mark O’Connell (moconnell@glos.ac.uk)
Other supervisors: Prof Anne Goodenough, Dr Gareth Parry (Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust)
Global biodiversity is threatened with a wide range of anthropogenic impacts. There is a desperately urgent need to tackle these issues in an efficient and prioritised way. This requires a range of underpinning research, in order to develop and evaluate evidenced based conservation action. Currently, conservation practitioners feel that the range of outputs from academic-driven research is not providing research that is relevant to achieving their local, national and international conservation goals. In collaboration with a major UK partner and a network of international organisations, this project will develop a practitioner-led research agenda 2025-2050, that will be relevant to conservation professionals and fit-for-purpose.

Applicants should hold at least a 2.1 from an undergraduate degree in Geography, Bioscience or related discipline.

To apply please email a CV and cover letter (maximum 2 pages) detailing your education/employment history, skills, experience and your fit to the specified project to Cassie Walker (cwalker1@glos.ac.uk).

Please note that the funded studentships do not cover full maintenance costs and are only available to UK students or those with home status with regard to fees. Also please be aware that there is a short turnaround between the application deadline, interview date and the start date of the Masters.