Master’s Research Opportunities in aquatic ecosystems and adaptation to climate change
A 3‐year Water Research Commission (WRC) research grant has been awarded to carry out research on the adaptability and vulnerability of aquatic biota to climate change. This research will improve our understanding of the biological consequences of thermal stress to river systems, and allow for the incorporation of this stress into climate change scenario assessments through the incorporation of biological temperature thresholds. These thresholds can be applied, for example, within the context of the river ecological Reserve, thereby providing a valuable tool for reducing errors in managing aquatic resources. Two Master’s degree opportunities are being offered within this project.
1) A two year Masters focusing on the development of biological temperature thresholds for selected aquatic macro‐invertebrates. The work will be largely laboratory based, but with a field component to collect live organisms. Candidates with an interest in aquatic systems and a background in aquatic ecology are encouraged to apply. A two‐year bursary (R 60,000 p.a.) is offered for a Masters level student in the Department of Zoology at the University of Cape Town (UCT). Research running costs will be covered by the project.
The MSc candidate must have a strong BSc and Honours degree in Botany/Zoology or Geosciences, projects with aquatic ecology (Botany/Zoology) preferred.
2) A one year Masters focusing on the development of a connectivity index for rivers, which could form the basis for developing a biodiversity resilience map for selected rivers in South Africa, based on estimates of movement potential of aquatic biota in response to climate change. The work will be largely modelling/ computer‐based, but with opportunities for limited field assessment. Candidates with an interest in aquatic systems and ecology, with a background in GIS are encouraged to apply. A one‐year bursary (R60, 000) is offered for a Masters level student in the Department of Geography at the University of Kwazulu‐Natal (UKZN). Research running costs will be covered by the project.
The MSc candidate must have a strong BSc and Honours degree in either Botany/Zoology or Hydrological/
Geographical. Projects with aquatic ecology and a spatial component preferred.
All candidates must be able to work well independently and within a team, be able to communicate progress and results of research both orally and in written form. Successful applicants will have to apply through UCT or UKZN and will be subject to final approval by the University and the Faculty.
Interested candidates must hold a good Honour’s degree in one of the environmental sciences and be South African citizens of colour. We require a covering letter/email outlining the reasons why you would like to study with us and your research interests as well as full curriculum vitae. Short‐listed candidates will be asked to supply a copy of their project report for their Honour’s degree, contact details for referees and certified copies of all academic transcripts. Successful applicants will be invited to apply via UCT or UKZN. Please indicate clearly which MSc opportunity you are interested in.
Contact : Helen.Dallas@uct.ac.za before 31 March 2012