The impacts of anthropogenic noise on bats
Experimental studies to identify thresholds and inform industry guidance
An opportunity to apply for a funded full-time PhD in the College of Health, Science and Society at UWE Bristol in partnership with the Milner Institute of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Bath. The studentship will be funded by UWE Bristol and RSK Biocensus Ltd.
The expected start date of this studentship is 1 October 2023.
The closing date for applications is 14 April 2023.
Urban areas are expanding proportionally faster in a global context than any other land cover type, causing dramatic changes in the structure and functioning of ecosystems. Conversion of land for urban developments, road and rail construction not only causes habitat loss, but creates disturbance in the form of anthropogenic noise and light pollution. These drivers can affect wildlife adversely by causing alterations to behaviours necessary for survival, such as foraging, communication and reproduction, e.g. by increased anthropogenic noise construction of roads and industrial developments. Anthropogenic noise is defined as unwanted sound generated by humans and is predominately caused by road traffic, aircraft and industrial works. Anthropogenic noise can interfere with an animal’s ability to hear important sounds, cause the animal to alter its behaviour, or physically impair its hearing.
The impacts of anthropogenic noise on wildlife present significant challenges for consultant ecologists and developers responsible for delivering new urban development in line with UK legislation which protects bats from disturbance. Despite a recent review, the impacts of noise on bats are not well understood, and there is lack of evidence-based guidance for mitigation of impacts according to species, behaviour and noise levels.
Working closely with industry and in partnership with RSK Biocensus we will combine novel field experiments with before and after impact experiments to identify the impacts of anthropogenic noise on bats with a particular focus on Plecotus auritus and Rhinolophus hipposideros. We will assess the thresholds for disturbance, and assess effects on roosting and emergence, foraging and commuting behaviour.
The project is supervised by Dr Emma Stone (University of Bath, Bat Conservation Research Lab) and Dr Paul Lintott (UWE Bristol). The PhD is co-funded by the University of the West of England and RSK Biocensus Ltd. The student will split time between the University of Bath and UWE Bristol, with the majority of time based at the University of Bath in the Bat Conservation Research Lab.
Data collection will involve night work surveying bats, conducting noise experiments at roosts and foraging areas as well as time working away from the university unsupervised. We are looking for candidates who are reliable, resourceful and have a positive attitude to the challenges of field work. Experience of ecological niche modelling, field experiments, bat acoustic analysis and GIS is highly desirable.
For an informal discussion about the studentship, please email Dr Paul Lintott at email@example.com.
The studentship is available from 1 October 2023 for a period of three years, subject to satisfactory progress and includes a tax exempt stipend, which is currently £17,668 (2022/23) per annum.
In addition, full-time tuition fees will be covered for up to three years (Home).
Eligible applicants must:
- have a strong background in biological science
- have additional experience of geographical information systems, ecological niche modelling and statistical modelling and an aptitude for data analysis
- have recently received an MSc and/or a First or high 2:1 BSc in a relevant subject
- have a recognised English language qualification
- be able to drive and have a valid UK driving licence.
Additionally, experience of working with bats would be preferable.
Data collection will involve night work surveying bats, conducting noise experiments at roosts and foraging areas as well as time working away from the University unsupervised. Data collection will begin from Autumn 2023.
We are looking for candidates who are reliable, resourceful and have a positive attitude to the challenges of field work. Experience of ecological niche modelling, field experiments, bat acoustic analysis and GIS is highly desirable. The ability to communicate effectively with a wide variety of stakeholders, including industry, landowners, bat groups, ecologists, planners, the public, and research scientists is essential.
How to apply
Please submit your application online.
When prompted use the reference number 2223-APR-CHSS10
Supporting documentation: you will need to upload your research proposal, all your degree certificates and transcripts and a recognised English language qualification is required.
References: you will need to provide details of two referees as part of your application.
The closing date for applications is 14 April 2023.
It is expected that interviews will take place on weeks commencing 24 April 2023. If you have not heard from us by week commencing 24 April 2023, we thank you for your application but on this occasion you have not been successful.