Professor Phil Atkinson (British Trust for Ornithology)
Dr James Gilroy (School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia)
Dr Inês Catry (Institute of Agronomy, University of Lisbon)
Climate change is a severe threat to biodiversity. Many species are adapting by changing their ranges and retreating to areas with cooler climates . Areas with a high variety of microclimates may provide opportunities for species to persist in a changing climate . Animal species, exposed to microclimate variability throughout their life cycles , may be able to use favourable microclimate sites to shelter from extreme events. With the advent of new tracking technologies, high spatial and temporal resolution data is available  for a wide range of taxa enabling the quantification of individual exposure to microclimate variability  and the identification of behavioural strategies individuals adopt to cope with climate extremes. The results will be used to recommend habitat management actions that promote microclimate variability and the creation of refugia sites needed to protect species that are vulnerable to climate change.
Using existing GPS location data with high spatial and temporal resolution (e.g. datasets from Movebank.org), and newly collected data using new tracking technologies, this project will examine the microclimate characteristics  of sites used by individuals living at the edge and core of their climatic ranges. Detailed data on the behaviour of individuals (e.g. resting, foraging, moving) can be obtained through accelerometer sensors, these in combination with the GPS location data provide a powerful tool to understand behavioural responses to environmental variability.
The project will use theoretical and practical ecological skills and new animal tracking technologies. You will be trained in experimental design, testing hypothesis, to trap and manipulate wild animals and deploy tracking devices and in analyses of animal movement data. You will have the opportunity to explore existing datasets using R, and investigate which microclimate variables influence animal behaviour. Large datasets with animal movement information will be used to reveal the main environmental drivers behind range limits, and will inform the design of robust management actions to protect species under a changing climate.
You should have a degree in the life sciences, relevant research experience, and be keen to advance scientific understanding of our natural environment. This project is available to highly numerate candidates.