Summer Undergraduate Research Placement

Our Curator, Dr Sam Brockington is looking for a talented undergraduate student to undertake a Summer Undergraduate Research Placement entitled: Modelling the future of ex-situ conservation in botanic gardens in the face of climate change.
New Zealand flora growing in the Garden's New Zealand Terrace GardenNew Zealand flora growing in the Garden's New Zealand Terrace Garden

Project Title:
Modelling the future of ex-situ conservation in botanic gardens in the face of climate change

Project Description:
Ex-situ living collections are collections of plant species that are grown in artificial conditions outside of the natural range of a species. Climate change is likely to have a significant effect on the long-term future of conservation of plant species in the ex-situ living collections of the world’s botanic gardens. This project will explore the vulnerability of species in living collections to different climate change scenarios. Utilizing data on which plant species are held in living collections within the UK, the climate risk of living collection will be assessed by comparing the temperature of locations where each species naturally occurs, and are known to be cultivated, with several temperature projections for projected climate scenarios. Data will be collected from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) and associated with location-dependent BIOCLIM variable envelopes. These temperature ‘envelopes’ for each species will be compared with projected climates under current temperatures, versus moderate to extreme climate change scenarios for the UK, to identify the vulnerability of ex-situ living collections to current and projected future climates.

Project Restrictions:
The applicant should have excellent skills in the use and application of applied mathematical software preferably ‘R’ and ‘R studio’, or equivalent bioinformatic software and programming.

Students must meet all of the following criteria, and must:
• Be studying for a degree in a quantitative discipline outside of NERC’s scientific remit (e.g. mathematics, statistics, computing, engineering, physics)
• Be applying for a placement in a different department to their undergraduate degree
• Be undertaking their first degree studies (or integrated Masters)
• Be expected to obtain a first or upper second class UK honours degree or equivalent
• Be eligible for subsequent NERC PhD funding (UK, EU or right to remain in the UK)

Lead Supervisor Details:
Samuel Brockington, Curator, Cambridge University Botanic Garden

Undergraduate Research Placement:
The Natural Environment Research Council, who supplies £2500 per Research Experience Placement (REP), funds this placement. This is meant to cover a stipend of £200 per week for up to 10 weeks, plus £500 in research expenses.

For more information and to apply for this post please contact Sam by 28 May 2018