PhD Studentship in Computational Ecology

Ecological interaction networks: Application to ongoing field work in Tanzania

Ecosystems consist of a complex web of interactions: among species, and between species and their environment. Understanding these interactions is important for predicting how factors – such as biological or chemical control agents, grazing pressure, or climate change – may affect ecosystem function. However, unravelling such complex networks of interactions stretches the boundaries of current research; new methods are needed to handle the complexity of real ecosystems.

This studentship explores the use of a methodology new to ecological analysis, Bayesian networks, for revealing ecological interaction networks. You will develop Bayesian network algorithms for handling ecological data and incorporating spatial information. Methods developed will be applied to real ecological data, including data collected in an ongoing field project in Tanzania. There is opportunity for a field season in Tanzania, where you would perform targeted manipulation experiments based on your models (e.g., targeted removal and addition of species within caged areas).

This project will be based in Dr Anne Smith’s lab at St Andrews and be in collaboration with Dr Colin Beale (York University, currently based in Tanzania) and Dr Dirk Husmeier (Biomathematics & Statistics Scotland). In this studentship, you will gain both computational and field skills.

For more details, please contact anne.smith (at) and/or visit:

Funding by NERC: UK residents (stipend and fees) or EU citizens (fees only)

A PDF of the above advertisement is downloadable from: