ACCE

A Doctoral Training Partnership funded by the Natural Environment Research Council


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About Us

Adapting to the Challenges of a Changing Environment

ACCE is a partnership between the Universities of Sheffield, Liverpool and York, and the NERC’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) providing doctoral training in the biological components of the natural environment and related disciplines. Our vision is to develop motivated, confident and multi-skilled PhD students, undertaking cutting edge research and tackling environmental science questions of global significance.

Among the Doctoral Training Partnerships funded by the NERC, ACCE is the only DTP with a clear emphasis on the biological component of environmental research. This biological core, combined with the international standing of the partners in the biological and related fields, makes ACCE a natural choice if you wish to undertake a PhD in biological research and related disciplines.

By including related disciplines beyond the biological sciences, ACCE is also able to provide a multidisciplinary environment to the benefit of our students, bringing together biologists, mathematicians, engineers, geoscientists, analytical chemists, archaeologists and policy experts. Our PhD students will not only graduate as excellent scientists, but also graduate with skills much sought after in today’s job market.

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Research Foci

Our collective research strengths

Securing ecosystem services and environmental resources

Securing ecosystem services and environmental resources

An area of strength across all ACCE institutions is research into the fundamental understanding of ecosystem services and resources and how their long-term future may be secured. Our work includes: Sustainability of natural and agricultural ecosystems and their service provision Linkages between biodiversity and ecosystem function Quantification of changes  in, and threats to, ecosystem services in soils, freshwater, vegetation and marine ecosystems Securing production of agricultural crops through the management of plant pests, soil fertility and plant breeding Sustainable water management, groundwater protection and restoration Policy and management guidance. Our work also aims to develop conceptual frameworks for the practical guidance needed for protection and restoration of multiple ecosystem services at the landscape...

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Predicting and mitigating impacts of climate change

Predicting and mitigating impacts of climate change

Our scientists study the impact of climate change on individuals, populations, communities and ecosystems, with approaches ranging from physiological processes within leaves, through changes in species richness and distribution, to global carbon dynamics. We are concerned with the impacts of a range of interacting global change drivers from global warming, precipitation change, extreme climatic events, temporal dynamics and seasonality, as well as non-climate changes such as land-use change and pollution of terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems. Such initiatives are complemented by CEH’s long-term research to provide improved simulation and analyses of the current and future global carbon cycle and climate by developing global modelling tools that integrate biogeochemical, hydrological and vegetation processes. Internationally-renowned research by ACCE institutes has contributed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, including authorship of chapters (IPCC 2007 AR4) and other international scientific consensus...

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Understanding the dynamics of biodiversity

Understanding the dynamics of biodiversity

Global biodiversity underpins ecosystem functioning, but is in serious decline in response to the major drivers of invasive species, climate change and habitat degradation. ACCE research is at the forefront of addressing these key issues by understanding the dynamics of single-species, interacting species and communities using theoretical models, lab populations, experimental microcosms and real-world environments. We place a strong emphasis on quantitative, analytical and computational techniques, such as epidemiological and metapopulation dynamic modelling, bioinformatics, and a range of ’omics technologies. For example, environmental microbiologists within ACCE use molecular techniques such as metagenomic sequencing technology to study bacteriophage and microbial community ecology across natural and managed environments. ACCE behavioural ecologists use proteomics and structural biology to understand chemical communication between mammals. The unique long-term species distribution and abundance databases at CEH underpin our investigations of the spatio-temporal drivers of biodiversity...

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Investigating mechanisms of evolutionary change: genes to communities

Investigating mechanisms of evolutionary change: genes to communities

All biological processes need to be understood in the context of evolution. ACCE researchers are international leaders in the field of evolutionary biology, investigating fundamental drivers of gene flow among populations, evolutionary responses of species to rapid environmental change, and the genetic basis of competition, co-evolution and co-operation between species and organisms. We also use multi-disciplinary approaches to study evolution, for example, through pioneering systems biology approaches to understanding the mechanisms of adaptation of species in polluted environments. Our research is supported by state-of-the-art facilities, for example in genomics (Centre for Genomic Research, Liverpool), molecular genetics (NERC Biomolecular Analysis Facility, Sheffield), and ancient DNA techniques (BioArch,...

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