Postdoctoral Researcher Ecologist To Lead Research Into Mechanistic Understanding Of The Spatio Temporal Distribution Of Invertebrate Populations

Edgmond, Shropshire, United Kingdom

Job Description

Salary: Grade 8 - \xc2\xa333,966 to \xc2\xa337,099 per annum (The point of entry will be dependent upon relevant qualifications and experience)

Harper Adams University is seeking to recruit a researcher in ecology with an interest in applied invertebrate biology and a background and interest in quantitative methods and spatial analysis. The position holder will take a leading role in a collaborative group conducting research into a novel, environmentally sustainable and commercially viable approach to control of the grey field slug, Deroceras reticulatum.

In recent years the Invertebrate Biology Team has been investigating the spatial distribution of slugs in arable fields, with population distributions characterized by multiple \xe2\x80\x9cislands/patches\xe2\x80\x9d of high slug density within \xe2\x80\x9cseas\xe2\x80\x9d of low slug numbers. We have established the behavioural mechanisms underpinning the spatio-temporal stability of patches, their size range/frequency in arable fields, and the economic viability of targeting treatments - pathogenic nematodes or conventional molluscicidal pellets - solely at the patches for slug control (see detailed job description for publications). The aim is now to extend this work to develop a precision agriculture approach which significantly reduces the area treated and associated environmental risk, while achieving reliable control of the pest. To do this the key environmental factors which govern the locations in which patches will form need to be established, and predictive models/equations developed for use with (existing) automated application equipment.

The postholder will take the academic lead of a field and modelling study to develop and validate this pest slug prediction system, providing academic research and rigor as a clearly defined component of a large collaborative project involving academia, industry, and farmers. In addition, to ensure economic viability of the approach, they will collaborate with technology experts who will be investigating the use of soil scans undertaken to support other husbandry decisions (but which reflect key soil characteristics identified by previous field/modelling work as potentially important for patch location), as input data for the final procedure developed. Opportunities will also arise to integrate findings with the use of robotic approaches to pathogenic nematode treatments for slugs, ensuring the procedure can be used for conventional and biological control. This project will therefore give the successful candidate a wide range of experience and transferable skills for their future career.

If you have any queries or questions or for an informal discussion, please contact Keith Walters via email at For further information about the University or to see full job description, please visit our website at

Application Procedure:

Applications should be made by sending a full Curriculum Vitae and supporting statement, which clearly highlights how your skills and experience match the requirements of the role, to Jayne Weaver via email to

Candidates should ensure that they provide full details of the name, postal address, email address and telephone number of two referees, including present or most recent employer.

Deadline for submission of applications is midnight on 14 September 2023

\xc2\xa333,966 to \xc2\xa337,099 per annum (Grade 8)

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Job Detail

  • Job Id
  • Industry
    Not mentioned
  • Total Positions
  • Job Type:
    Full Time
  • Salary:
    £33966 - 37099 per year
  • Employment Status
  • Job Location
    Edgmond, Shropshire, United Kingdom
  • Education
    Not mentioned