Postgraduate research project

Investigating the impact of beaver on fish communities in Southern England

Fully funded (UK and international)
Type of degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Entry requirements
2:1 honours degree View full entry requirements
Faculty graduate school
Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences
Closing date

About the project

There remains a lack of knowledge of how beavers might influence fish communities in England, particularly in the South of the country where increased population growth, house building, and wastewaster management places substantial pressures on freshwater resources. 

Beavers are ecosystem engineers capable of modifying rivers to benefit biodiversity and humans, e.g. through improving water quality and reducing flooding.

On the other hand, beavers can impact fisheries through altering spawning habitats and impeding migration. 

With the increasing beaver abundance in the UK, concerns related to their impacts on fish populations continue to emerge.

This project will address current gaps in knowledge by considering the impact of beaver landscape modification on:

  • physical and chemical characteristics of lowland English rivers,
  • hydrological regimes in rivers in which abstraction takes place,
  • diversity of thermal habitat at fine-resolution scales,
  • community composition, abundance and movement of multiple species of fish at beaver dams,
  • implications of ecosystems response to future fisheries management.

Working as part of an interdisciplinary team the successful applicant will conduct a field study to quantify the effectiveness of the restoration approaches adopted at the study sites. 

They will develop skills in 

  • field study design, 
  • kick sampling, 
  • arc-boat surveys, 
  • electric fishing, 
  • fish telemetry, 
  • statistical analysis (e.g R), 
  • GIS and technical writing.