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PhD in Conservation Ecology

PhD (ISCED 2011 level 8)


Duration 6 semesters
Cost UK Students - £9250, International Students - £16,500

Ecology research within the School has a broad focus on understanding the impact of natural and anthropogenic processes on the abundance, dynamics and distribution of individuals, populations and species.

Our research extends from genes to landscapes with an emphasis on long-term, large-scale field studies of birds and mammals to provide a real-world understanding of how ecological and evolutionary processes affect natural populations, and time-series data to identify population responses to environmental change. This approach is supported by strong theoretical research and novel statistical, modelling and laboratory-based tools.

We ensure recursive interaction and collaboration with a broad range of end-user, stake-holder and policy-making groups such that our research excellence translates into management and conservation policy and has real impact and influence.

Conservation Ecology

Much of our research on ecological and evolutionary dynamics in natural populations directly or indirectly informs conservation issues. We are involved in applied research from the arctic to the tropics and work with a wide range of end-user and policy making groups to inform the effective management of natural resources, tourism, harvesting and restoration. We dovetail expertise in ecology, socio-economics and land-use to develop interdisciplinary research, focused on delivering sustainable solutions to environmental conflicts.

High-profile examples include:
  1. Our work with rare plant the assess the impact that reproductive failure caused by the current worldwide loss of pollinators and habitat fragmentation may have on the long-term survival of populations as well as the effectiveness of experimental introduction on the genetic diversity of plant species;
  2. Collaboration between farmers, statutory agencies and other users of wildlife resources in the efforts to manage rare chough populations;
  3. Mitigation of the deleterious impact of the invasion of American mink on native water voles, while simultaneously testing hypothesis of life history tactics and predator-prey interactions;
  4. Application of molecular markers to identify identifying evolutionary significant units (ESU) for Scottish crossbills, capercaillie and water voles;
  5. quantifying the impact of hen harriers on grouse moors, exploring associated mitigation strategies, and promoting stakeholder dialogue to resolve conflicts and assess alternative management strategies.
  6. Understanding the impacts of ecotourism on marine mammal populations.
Structural components
Practical/Field work
Research Project


If English is not your first language you must also show evidence of attaining standards in English.

English language criteria

ISCED Categories

Project management
Policy and governance
Conservation and environmental management
Coastal and marine tourism