PhD studentships in UK ~

7 de diciembre de 2010

PhD studentships in UK

PhD studentships, Department of Life Sciences

The Department of Life Sciences intends to offer full-time PhD studentships to start early in 2011. We are inviting applications for the two following projects. The shortlisted students for these projects will compete with students from three other projects for the two places available. The studentship consists of tuition fees (for home/EU students) as well as a stipend (currently £15,200 p.a.). Overseas students are welcome to apply, but if they are successful, they will have to pay the difference between home and overseas tuition fees.
Closing date for applications: 5th January 2011; Interviews: 18th/19th January 2011
To apply please complete the form ‘Initial application form for MPhil/PhD’ which can be downloaded from You are also required to submit a full CV, a written statement of why you would like to undertake this PhD study at Roehampton and the skills that you can bring to the project.

Project 1. An interdisciplinary anthropological study of 'primate tourism'

‘Primate tourism’, where people travel to see wild primate populations in their natural environment, is a burgeoning industry and one that has the potential to make a significant contribution to the conservation of endangered primate species. Recently, however, concerns have been raised about the potential negative impacts of such tourism on the animals involved. While a small number of studies have explored tourist impacts on primate behaviour, none have quantified impacts on stress levels and this represents a fundamental gap in our current knowledge. Moreover, the human aspect of primate tourism remains largely unexplored. Consequently, we have very little understanding of the attitudes and expectations of tourists with regard to primates, or how these shape tourists’ behaviour towards - and hence impacts upon - the animals they visit. Understanding primate tourism from both the human and the primate perspective requires an integrated inter-disciplinary methodology: approaches from biological anthropology are needed to investigate the process from the primates’ point of view, while social anthropological approaches are needed to explore human perspectives. The aim of this PhD project is to develop this inter-disciplinary approach, in order to explore both social and biological aspects of primate tourism. Tourism related to wild Barbary macaques in the Atlas Mountains, Morocco, will be used as a model system for this study.

Reading materials
Applicants are expected to read the following articles, and if shortlisted for interviews, will be asked questions about these articles.
Fuentes (2010) Naturalcultural encounters in Bali: monkeys, temples, tourists, and ethnoprimatology. Cultural Anthropology 25, 600-624
McCarthy et al. (2009) Sequences of Tibetan macaque (Macaca thibetana) and tourist behaviors at Mt Huangshan, China. Primate Conservation 24, 145-151

For further information/informal enquiries, contact Dr Stuart Semple (

Project 2. Reproductive success, social attractiveness and symmetry in baboons

Males and females of many species are attracted by the symmetry of potential mates. In humans, symmetrical faces are found more attractive - in experiments that use natural faces and computer manipulated images. Symmetrical faces are also preferred in the rhesus monkey, but very little work has been done in non-human primates, although this could substantially illuminate the evolutionary history of attraction to symmetry in humans. This PhD will investigate the following questions in a wild population of olive baboons in Gashaka Gumti National Park Nigeria:
1. Do baboons find more symmetrical individuals more attractive as sexual partners (adult males and females) and social partners (all individuals)?
2. What features (e.g. rank, social attractiveness) of wild primates predict reproductive success (in males and females)?
3. Is ‘quality’ (measured by reproductive success, size, weight, parasite load) correlated with symmetry?

Reading materials
Applicants are expected to read the following articles, and if shortlisted for interviews, will be asked questions about these articles.
Higham et al (2009) Female reproductive signaling, and male mating behavior, in the olive baboon. Hormones & Behavior 55: 60-67
Little et al (2008) Symmetry Is Related to Sexual Dimorphism in Faces: Data Across Culture and Species. PLoS ONE 3: e2106.

For further information/informal enquiries, contact Dr Caroline Ross (

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