Waking the dead: Evolutionary responses of Daphnia spp. to biophysical disruption in tropical lake systems PhD

Entry requirements:
3.5 years
not available
Reference number:
Start date:
01 October 2018
Is funding available?
UK/EU fees:
International fees:
Application deadline:
22 January 2018



of research classed as 'internationally recgonised'

REF 2014


in the UK for Geography

The Complete University Guide 2018

Top 20

in the UK for Geography

Guardian University Guide 2018


Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014) and an outstanding 66% of the work of Loughborough’s academic staff who were eligible to be submitted to the REF was judged as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, compared to a national average figure of 43%.

In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career. 

Project detail

Tropical freshwater lakes are critical natural systems of global importance, providing vital ecosystem services to some of Earth’s fastest growing and most vulnerable human populations, yet are scientifically under researched. Tropical lakes are excellent natural laboratories in which to study ecological responses to such environmental stressors, both at a community level (e.g. functional and taxonomic biodiversity) and for individual groups or species. In particular, tropical lakes provide exciting opportunities to explore evolutionary processes for keystone aquatic organisms. Daphnia spp. (water fleas) are ideal for such studies as they have both fast generational turnover, and produce eggs in protective cases, which can be hatched from seedbanks in lake sediments. 

This PhD will address these questions in the lake-rich region of equatorial western Uganda, where there are ~100 crater lakes, together comprising a globally important ecoregion and acting as a natural aquatic laboratory, within landscapes often heavily impacted by human activity. This project combines contemporary limnology, ecology, and palaeolimnology (and specifically experimental ecology, genomics and “resurrection ecology”) across a suite of contrasting crater lakes in western Uganda. The aim is to characterise aquatic ecological response to environmental change over the last c.100-150 years. Outcomes of this project will shed new light on evolutionary responses of keystone aquatic species to environmental perturbations (e.g. climate change, eutrophication) with wide applicability.


Primary supervisor: Dr David Ryves

Secondary supervisor: Prof John Anderson / Dr Luisa Orsini (Birmingham)

Find out more

For further project details email Dr David Ryves or register your interest and ask us a question.

To find out more about postgraduate research in the department of Geography please visit our website.

For further information on this project, please see the main CENTA website.

Entry requirements

Applicants will normally need to hold, or expect to gain, at least a 2:1 degree (or equivalent) in Geography, Biology, Earth Science or Environmental Science.  A Master’s degree and/or experience in a related area associated with the research will be an advantage.

Fees and funding


Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. University fees and charges can be paid in advance and there are several methods of payment, including online payments and payment by instalment. Special arrangements are made for payments by part-time students.

The studentship is for 3.5 years and is intended to start in October 2018. The studentship provides a tax free stipend of £14,553 per annum (in 2017/18) for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate (£4,195 in 2017/18) and a research training support grant of £8,000.  Please note that due to restrictions imposed by the funder only students with a UK/EU fee status will be considered for this position. Further guidance about eligibility is available at RCUK Terms & Conditions.

How to apply

To apply, you will need to;

  1. Complete a CENTA studentship application form in Word format which is available here.
  2. All applications should be made online. Under programme name, select “Geography”. During the online application process, upload the CENTA studentship application form as a supporting document.
  3. Please quote CENTA17-LU8 when completing your online application.

Application details

Reference number: CENTA17-LU8
Application deadline: 22 January 2018
Start date: 01 October 2018
Interview date: Week beginning 12 February 2018