Project proposal details

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Project title
Death in paradise: effects of pesticide fogging on the invertebrate community on a small tropical island
Contact name
Richard Gill
Project based at
Silwood Park (Imperial)
Project description
Small islands harbour a large proportion of the endemic species on earth. They are also fragile ecosystems and vulnerable to human perturbations. Pesticide usage on small tropical islands is common, especially for tourist islands looking to reduce pest species that pose an annoyance or local inhabited islands wanting to control disease vectors. However, inadvertent impact on non-target species are likely to have serious consequences to the functioning of these fragile ecosystems. Yet few studies have actually investigated how communities of organisms respond to pesticide applications on such self-contained islands. We therefore have limited knowledge as to the degree of impact this is having on key functional groups. Two projects may be available: 1) a guaranteed desk-based project which will analyse the difference in terrestrial invertebrate communities across the island in relation to pesticide application; 2) a possible field-based project in the Maldives to conduct repeat follow-up work to determine how invertebrate biodiversity has responded to a recent reduction in pesticide usage on the island (>80% decrease).
Additional requirements
No major prerequisites for this project. If wanting to do a field-based project, would need to be willing to live on a small island for 2.5 months.
Available support
Gill lab has experience working with insect communities and has been to the studied Maldivian islands on multiple occasions which covers your food and accomodation. Flights will also be covered.
Date uploaded

Project proposal limitations

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Project length limitations
3.5 months, 5 months, 9 months
Available date limitations
Autumn (Sept-Oct), Winter (January), Spring (April-May)
Suitable for
Ecology Evolution and Conservation, Ecological Applications, Tropical Forest Ecology MRes, Ecosystem and Environmental Change MRes, Taxonomy and Biodiversity [NHM MSc]