Dr Anna Sturrock (School of Life Sciences, University of Essex)
Dr Tom Cameron (School of Life Sciences, University of Essex)
Dr Rasmus Lauridsen (Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust)
Dr Colin Bull (Missing Salmon Alliance)
Atlantic salmon and brown trout are two of the most ecologically and commercially important fish species in Europe. Salmon spend up to seven years in the river before undertaking large migrations to sea, where they grow rapidly on nutrient-rich resources. Their size and the timing of their migration can play a key role in the likelihood of their eventual return to spawn in their home river. In contrast, many trout stay in the river throughout their lifecycle, but those that migrate to sea and survive the return journey to spawn tend to dominate the future gene pool in the river. The key drivers of when (or if) these migrations occur are still poorly understood, as is their role in the declining success of salmon and trout in the face of global change.
This project will investigate the role of environment, physiology, and behaviour in determining life history choices in salmon and trout. Individual fish will be tagged using passive integrated transponders, and tracked throughout key stages of their life-cycle using established tracking stations on rivers in England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Norway, and Iceland. Juvenile metabolic rate will be measured for each fish using field respirometry. Growth rate will be estimated by image analysis of annuli from fish scales. Short- and long-term diets will be quantified through microscopy of stomach contents and stable isotope analysis. Resource availability will be characterised through taxonomic identification and biomass estimates of macroinvertebrates and algae in each river.
The candidate will join the Ecology and Environmental Microbiology Group at the University of Essex and will also work with researchers at the Atlantic Salmon Trust and Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust. The supervisory team will offer training in a broad skillset related to ecophysiology, fish biology, food web ecology, freshwater taxonomy, ecological modelling, and science communication. The candidate will also develop extensive field skills in electrofishing, tagging, respirometry, and freshwater ecology.
We are looking for a candidate who is enthusiastic about global change biology, freshwater ecology, fish biology, and ecosystem ecology, with a degree in ecology, biology, or environmental science. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to apply.