Fully funded 1 year research scholarship
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Fully funded 1 year research scholarship

Fully funded KESS-II MRes Scholarship for UK/EU applicants

Research project: Ground truthing barrier impacts for more efficient restoration of natural capital in the River Afan.

Keywords: Stream fragmentation, Stream restoration, eDNA, Citizen science

Start date: October 2019

Brief Summary of the project: Healthy rivers are flowing rivers, as river health depends on having well connected habitats. Loss of connectivity is one of the main threats to the ecosystem services and natural capital provided by rivers, but accurate data on the number of stream barriers and the extent of river fragmentation are difficult to obtain and are generally lacking. Typically, only the largest barriers are recorded, which is unfortunate as these are the least abundant. Consequently, the extent of stream fragmentation tends to be underestimated, which may hamper current restoration efforts undertaken by companies to mitigate against water abstraction and instream structures. Obtaining accurate data on the location and impacts of low head structures such as weirs, gauge stations, and culverts and fords at road crossings is essential for watershed management.

This study will make use of a recently developed smartphone app (barrier tracker) and the help of volunteers to map the location of all barriers on the Afan catchment, and use eDNA to assess their impact on migratory Atlantic salmon and brown trout. It will also attempt to test the efficiency of existing fish passes using a novel semi-quantitative eDNA approach developed at Swansea University as part of the EU-funded AMBER project (www.amber.international) Based at the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research (CSAR https://www.swansea.ac.uk/bioscience/csar/) this is collaborative project with Natural Resources Wales, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water, Andrew Scott Ltd, and the Afan Valley Angling Club

The scholarship provides 1 year funding with a 3 month period to complete the thesis. The achievement of a postgraduate skills development award, PSDA, is compulsory for each KESS II scholar and is based on a 40 credit award.

Eligibility Criteria
Candidates should have a 2.1 or above (equivalent to 60%) in Biology or a related subject. They should also be eligible for Home/UK Fees (see http://www.ukcisa.org.uk/Information--Advice/Fees-and-Money/Wales-fee-status for more information).
We would normally expect the academic and English Language requirements to be met by point of application.
For details on the University’s English Language entry requirements, please visit – http://www.swansea.ac.uk/admissions/englishlanguagerequirements/ For more information on eligibility please refer to section C of the KESS II Participant Proposal form for full details.
Any queries relating to Section C – Eligibility, please contact KESSstudentenquiries@swansea.ac.uk

The studentship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus a stipend. The bursary will be limited to a maximum of £11,702 per year dependent upon the applicants’ financial circumstances assessed in section C point 4 in the KESS II participant proposal form. See attached.

There will also be additional funds available for research expenses. Please note that a KESS student is not eligible for a Postgraduate Masters Degree loan, as they will be in receipt of KESS 2 support.

How to Apply
Applicants are advised to contact KESSstudentenquiries@swansea.ac.uk for queries on eligibility, and Professor Carlos Garcia de Leaniz (c.garciadeleaniz@swansea.ac.uk) or Professor Sonia Consuegra (s.consuegra@swansea.ac.uk) for more information on the project

To apply:
1. Complete the KESS II Participant Proposal Form
2. Complete the KESS II Supplementary Application Form
3. You will also need to provide copies of the following documentation:
Degree certificates
English Language certificate (if required)
All supporting documentation as detailed in Section C of the KESS II Participant Proposal form

Please return both application forms and supporting documentation to the KESS Office at the address stated on the KESS II Participant Proposal Form (original ink signatures only).

Application forms may be submitted in Welsh and any application submitted in Welsh will be treated no less favourably than an application received in English.

For any queries please contact KESSstudentenquiries@swansea.ac.uk

The deadline for applications Friday 21st June 2019