Project proposal details
Please look carefully through the proposal details below. If you are interested in the project then contact the supervisor, explaining why you are interested and any background which makes you a good fit for the project.
If this is an external project, the lead supervisor may have suggested someone at Imperial College or the NHM who could act as an internal supervisor and you should also contact them. If the project is external and no internal has been proposed then you must find an internal supervisor before starting the project.
Please pay close attention to any extra notes on requirements (such as being able to drive or to speak particular languages) or the application process. There may be specific limitations on the project availability: if there are then they will be clearly shown further down the page.
European tree migrations during the Holocene – how, when, why?
Project based at
Silwood Park (Imperial)
There is a fundamental, unanswered question about how fast tree taxa can “migrate” in response to changes in climate. One view, based on (limited!) recent observations, is that trees will be among the slowest groups of organisms to track climate change. This view was expressed in the Working Group 2 report of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report. It is quite inconsistent with evidence from pollen analysis showing range expansions by as much as 1 km/year in response to the rapid global transition out of the last glacial period and into the Holocene, ca 11,650 years ago. But we still do not know why some tree taxa’s distributions moved much more slowly, or followed quite different spatial patterns. Were some taxa limited by their dispersal ability? Or were they simply responding to different aspects of climate change? The second explanation is generally accepted for eastern North America – but the jury is still out for Europe. This project will exploit recent huge advances in the availability of pollen data from Europe, combined with new computational techniques for palaeoclimate reconstruction, to answer the long-standing question of “climate versus dispersal” as the main control of Holocene changes in the composition of Europe’s forests.
Project proposal limitations
The project proposer has indicated that there are some limitations to the availability of this project. It may only be available at certain times of year or suit a specific project length. It may also need skills taught to students on a particular course or courses.
Research project proposals are usually part of an active research programme. If supervisors have stated limitations to a proposal, then they are unlikely to have any flexibility. If you are very interested in the topic but have problems with the stated limitations, the supervisor may still be happy to talk to you about other options around the proposal, but you should not expect that any alternative arrangements can be made.
Project length limitations
Computational Methods in Ecology and Evolution (MRes), Ecosystem and Environmental Change MRes