Fully Funded KESS II MSc by Research Scholarship: Ground Truthing Barrier Impacts for More Efficient Restoration of Natural Capital in the River Afan
*This scholarships is part funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) convergence programme for West Wales and the Valleys.*
Start date: July 2020
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 in Swansea as part of the EU-funded AMBER project (www.amber.international).
Based at the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research (CSAR), this is a collaborative project with Natural Resources Wales, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water, Andrew Scott Ltd, and the Afan Valley Angling Club.
Scholarships are collaborative awards with external partners including SMEs and micro companies, as well as public and third sector organisations. 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.
Candidates should have a 2.1 or above in their undergraduate degree in Bioscience or related subject.
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/
Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is open to UK/EU candidates only.
The studentship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees and £1,000 bench fee, plus a stipend. The bursary will be limited to a maximum of £11,702 p.a. dependent upon the applicant's financial circumstances.
There will also be additional funds available for research expenses.
Please note that students receiving KESS II support are not eligible for Postgraduate Master's Degree loan.