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PhD Opportunities

This lists details the PhD projects that we are aware of. They are by no means exhaustive and the institutions listed, and others, may well be offering additional projects. Further details for many of these projects are already available on institutional websites. Note that application deadlines can be as early as January, and interviews usually take place during the period January-April.

To add a PhD opportunity please use our online form: Add a PhD Opportunity.

Notices with expiry dates before this date are not shown.
You may filter by the project funding statues.
Institution: University of Vienna, Department of Palaeontology
Supervisor(s): Prof. Dr. Jürgen Kriwet (Evolutionary Morphology Research Group (EvoMoRG), Department of Palaeontology, University of Vienna)
Funding Status: Funding is in place for this project
Description: The selected candidate will be part of the Vienna Doctoral School of Ecology and Evolution, which includes 12 research groups (https://vds-ecology-evolution.univie.ac.at/) and is expected to conduct a research project within the international research unit “Solnhofen Plattenkalk Biota” on the eco-evolutionary dynamics of Late Jurassic bony fishes (Osteichthyes, Actinopterygii) that ultimately shall lead to a doctoral degree typically in form of a thesis based on publications. More information...
Expiry Date: Wednesday, December 8, 2021
Institution: University of Cambridge
Supervisor(s): Dr Emily Mitchell, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge Dr Charlotte Kenchington, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge Dr Jason Head, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: Animals first appear in the fossil record during the Ediacaran time period (635-539 million years ago). It is during the Ediacaran that animals evolved some of their most important traits: most obviously large body-size but also tissue-differentiation, mobility, bilateral symmetry and ecosystem engineering (reef-building). The study of Ediacaran organisms is fraught with difficulties, because commonly-used morphological approaches have only limited use due to the unique anatomies of Ediacaran organisms. More information...
Expiry Date: Wednesday, January 5, 2022
Institution: University of Edinburgh
Supervisor(s): Sean McMahon, University of Edinburgh Andrew Curtis, University of Edinburgh Rachel Wood, University of Edinburgh
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: *Summary* Stromatolites are laminated domes, cones, ridges and columns of sediment formed by living organisms. How do non-biological factors shape these structures and form pseudofossils mimicking them? More information...
Expiry Date: Thursday, January 6, 2022
Institution: University of Bristol
Supervisor(s): Jordi Paps, School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol Davide Pisani, School of Biological Sciences and School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol Philip Donoghue, School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol Greg Edgecombe, Department of Earth Sciences, The Natural History Museum, London
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: The colonisation of land by life is one of the major evolutionary transitions in the history of the planet which dramatically shaped modern terrestrial ecosystems (Figure 1). Despite its key ecological and evolutionary importance, the genetic and cellular basis of terrestrialisation and its timing(s) are not well understood. This project brings together a team of expert zoologists, palaeontologists, genome biologists, and developmental biologists. More information...
Expiry Date: Monday, January 10, 2022
Institution: University of Liverpool
Supervisor(s): Dr Karl Bates, University of Liverpool Dr Phil Cox, University of York Dr James Gardiner, University of Liverpool
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: The masticatory apparatus of mammals is a model system for understanding how ecological and environmental factors interact with anatomy and physiology to shape phenotypic diversity. However, most studies have focused exclusively on macroevolutionary patterns in bony morphology and its relationship to shifts in trophic ecology. Relatively few studies have simultaneously assessed patterns of disparity and convergence in muscle morphology and function, thereby limiting our understanding of adaptations and constraints in the masticatory system. More information...
Expiry Date: Friday, January 14, 2022
Institution: University of Manchester
Supervisor(s): Manchester: Katrina Jones, Dual Award with University of Melbourne (Andrew Pask).
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: One remarkable feature of mammals is the enormous diversity of methods they have evolved to navigate their environment e.g., swimming, flying, running. Kangaroos are a captivating example, pushing the boundaries of terrestrial locomotion using a bipedal hopping gait that allows them to achieve speeds of over 70km/hr. Exploring the principals governing such extreme locomotor adaptations can help us to understand the mechanical limits of locomotion and its impact on the evolution of locomotor diversity in mammals. More information...
Expiry Date: Friday, January 21, 2022
Institution: University of Manchester
Supervisor(s): Dr Russell Garwood Dr Robert Sansom
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: Macroevolution occurs over time spans of millions of years. Two approaches can be taken in identifying and understanding macroevolutionary patterns and processes - empirical and theoretical. For example, the mode and tempo of evolutionary change can be investigated using phylogenies of living and extinct species, and through computer simulations replicating evolution in digital organisms/species. These contrasting approaches are complementary, but each has limitations: empirical data contain biases (fossilisation, for example), whilst by necessity simulations are highly simplified. More information...
Expiry Date: Sunday, January 30, 2022
Institution: University of Leeds
Supervisor(s): Dr Alex Dunhill (University of Leeds, School of Earth and Environment), Dr Kevin Page (Camborne School of Mines, University of Exeter), Matt Williams (Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution), Dr Andrew Newell (British Geological Survey)
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: The Toarcian Stage of the Lower Jurassic marks a period of extreme environmental perturbations, including changes to the global carbon cycle, rapid warming to ‘hyperthermal’ conditions, and increased continental weathering and run-off. These events have been linked to the eruption of the Karoo-Ferarr Large Igneous Province in the contemporary Southern hemisphere. More information...
Expiry Date: Sunday, February 27, 2022
Institution: Durham University
Supervisor(s): Dr Martin R. Smith (Durham University) Dr Tom Nye (Newcastle University)
Funding Status: Funding is in competition with other projects and students
Description: 500 million years ago, life on earth was fundamentally transformed by the geologically rapid emergence of complex animal-dominated ecosystems. This ‘Cambrian Explosion’ permanently altered the dynamics of biology and geology on a planetary scale – but what evolutionary processes led to the sudden dominance of macroscopic organisms, and their concomitant interactions with the oceans, sediment and biosphere? More information...
Expiry Date: Monday, March 14, 2022