Rothamsted Research

where knowledge grows

Research Studentships & Job Vacancies

Current Research Studentships:

1. STARS PhD studentship project: Climate change and shifting pests: will the Clover Root Weevil develop as a major pest of white clover in the UK?

Important dates: 22nd January 2017 -  probable application deadline.

Early February 2017 - local interviews to take place.

Working with a multi-disciplinary supervisory team of leading scientists from the UK and New Zealand, this PhD will determine the ecophysiological requirements of the Clover Root Weevil, a major pest of temperate grassland systems, and model the potential impact of a changing climate on the pest and its impact on N-fixation and legume sustainability in grassland systems.

Legumes are one of the most important components of grassland systems. They provide a range of ecosystem services, including soil structuring, nitrogen fixation and resources for pollinators. The incorporation of legumes in grassland mixes is used extensively as a means of reducing reliance on fertiliser inputs which are a major contributor of greenhouses gases from agriculture. 

Clover root weevil feed on clover roots thereby reducing the amount of nitrogen that can be provided by clover, and thus must be supplemented with nitrogen fertiliser to maintain productivity. The Clover root weevil is a major grassland pest in New Zealand which led to a 50% reduction in N-fixation nationally after its introduction there. One of the reasons for the success of the pest in New Zealand is that the climate allows the insect to have two generations per year, whereas in the UK it has only one. 

A warming UK climate means that the development of such pests may change so that, for example, multiple generations per year will be possible. This poses a major potential threat to UK grassland livestock farming and the results of this PhD are likely to be of great interest to the farming sector in both the UK and globally as we mitigate and adapt to a changing climate.

Through the research, you will work with colleagues in New Zealand, and receive training in entomology, experimental design, sampling techniques and model development, and gain skills in model validation and simulation interpretation.

The PhD will be based at Rothamsted Research North Wyke and will validate phenological models developed in New Zealand for UK conditions using data generated from the North Wyke Farm Platform National Capability, the world’s most highly instrument beef and sheep farm and a unique facility for measuring at a whole-farm scale the sustainability of alternative approaches to production from grassland.   

To submit your application, please visit  the STARS webpage.

For further details, please contact: Lianhai Wu or Phil Murray

 
 

Current Farm Platform Job Vacancies

None at present

 
 

National Capability

A national capability is a BBSRC-funded resource intended to benefit the scientific community in general. These can be facilities as well as opensource datasets. 

National Capabilities

Rothamsted Insect Survey

Operates two national networks for monitoring insect populations in the UK

North Wyke Farm Platform

Provides the research community access to a range of in situ state-of-the-art instrumentation in hydrologically isolated fields and farms to better address key issues in sustainable agriculture.

PHI-base

A database of interactions between pathogens and their hosts maintained at Rothamsted Research with international input.

Long-Term Experiments

These have been running since the mid 19th Century, provide a unique experimental system and archive of soil and plant samples.