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Brown bear spatial distribution shifts and expansion towards new areas in Europe: Facing new conservation scenarios for brown bear expansion in Europe

  • School: School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
  • Study mode(s): Full-time / Part-time
  • Starting: 2023
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / International student (non-EU) / Fully-funded


NTU's Fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme 2023

Project ID: ARES9

In response to human pressure, animals often show crucial modifications in their behaviours, e.g., movement strategies and activity rhythms, which can have serious and unexpected consequences for wildlife, such as a decrease in survival, reproductive success and fitness. In Europe, human presence shapes the behaviour of brown bears and, therefore, their movement strategies. European brown bears are currently distributed into ten populations that vary widely in size, and consequently, it is not surprising that conservation needs and management strategies vary widely. This PhD project aims to provide novel approaches to analyse European brown bears' movement behaviour and expansion to detect the environmental and anthropic factors that may affect bear behaviours and viability in populations of different sizes and under contrasting levels of protection across Europe. This project will be developed using telemetry data from over 100 GPS collared bears across three different European populations (the Carpathian Mountains in Romania, The Finnish and Russian Karelia and the Cantabrian Mountains in Spain. Once analysed through advanced modelling techniques, this extensive dataset will provide a unique opportunity to characterise bear expansion patterns towards new sheltering, feeding and reproduction areas. This project will also identify the most likely routes used by the species to move during their dispersal movements and the areas with the greatest risk of human-bear conflicts. Results will have a strong application and will be integrated into future management plans to guarantee population viability and connectivity between subpopulations.

Supervisory Team:

Director of Studies: Dr Antonio Uzal (NTU)

Co-Supervisor: Dr Richard Yarnell (NTU)

External Supervisor: Vincenzo Penteriani (IMIB-CSIC ,University of Oviedo, Spain)

External Supervisor: Maria del Mar Delgado (IMIB-CSIC ,University of Oviedo, Spain)

External Supervisor: Ancuta Fedorca (National Institute for Research and Development in Forestry Marin Dracea, Romania)

Entry qualifications

For the eligibility criteria, visit our studentship application page.

How to apply

To make an application, please visit our studentship application page.

Fees and funding

This is part of NTU's 2023 fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme.

Guidance and support

Application guidance can be found on our studentship application page.

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