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«Nottingham Trent University Doctoral School School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences PhD Projects 2016 Welcome to the Nottingham Trent ...»

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“Creating future innovators and impact for education, industry,

the professions and society”

Nottingham Trent University

Doctoral School

School of Animal, Rural and

Environmental Sciences

PhD Projects


Welcome to the Nottingham Trent University Doctoral


The Doctoral School provides a supportive environment and a thriving research culture

that encourages you to reach your full potential as a research degree student.

Valuing ideas, enriching society

We encourage new ideas and new ways of thinking across the whole University through a culture of discovery and innovation. We believe our research has the potential to impact the world we live in and change lives.

Research excellence Our research is recognised across the world. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (Ref 2014) most of our research was considered internationally-excellent or world-leading.

The University is committed to developing and expanding its activity to increase the scope, quality and impact of our research.

Be part of our research With MPhil, PhD and Professional Doctorate research degree opportunities across each of our academic schools, we support students conducting research in a diverse range of areas. Our research students form an important part of our research community and make a significant contribution to our activity.

We offer full-time, part-time and distance learning research degree opportunities.

Our Professional Doctorates offer you the opportunity to contribute to research in your profession while attaining a research qualification.

A supportive community We are committed to supporting and developing our research students.

You will have academic, administrative and personal support throughout your studies and access to dedicated workspace and exceptional facilities.

Excellent support throughout your studies The Doctoral School aims to provide excellent personal and practical assistance for our research students creating a supportive and pro-active environment.

Support and guidance Your main source of advice and support will be your own doctoral supervisory team, which will include a director of studies and at least one other supervisor. This team will be selected based on their experience in your chosen area of study or their background in relevant practice.

The Doctoral School Team will be available throughout your studies. Our dedicated team will offer advice and guidance for your initial enquiry and application and introduce you to the University and to your supervisory team.

Outstanding facilities As a research student at NTU you will have access to a wealth of facilities and resources to aid and enhance your studies. The University is committed to providing the best possible facilities for all its students and we are constantly investing in new facilities and learning environments.

Dedicated study areas All our research students are able to use study and writing areas giving you access to desks, laboratories and IT facilities when you need it.

Learning resources Students at Nottingham Trent University have access to a wealth of library materials including over 480,000 books and 1,300 printed journals, as well as an extensive audiovisual collection of DVDs, videos and slides.

Electronic library resources are an increasingly important part of the support offered to research students, and more than 290 databases and 17,000 eJournals are accessible from any networked PC within NTU, or from your home or off-campus PC.

Our experienced and knowledgeable library staff will help guide you to the most useful sources of information.

Developing the next generation of researchers We aim to nurture research talent and help our students thrive through their research degrees and into their future careers.

Researcher Development Programme All research students are expected to participate in a rolling programme of professional development. You will have the opportunity to attend a range of workshops and developmental activities mapped to the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF).

Our Research Development Programme empowers you – in discussion with your supervisory team – to create an individualized package of activities to support your career development as a researcher.

A range of core activities will support your journey from enrolment at NTU as a research student, through to final submission of your thesis. These activities will be complemented by a series of electives that you will choose to pursue, depending upon your developmental needs as you progress in your research work.

Developing your career We pride ourselves on equipping our students with knowledge and skills and encouraging initiative, innovation and excellence.

Our research students are encouraged to take part in conferences, seminars and external networks. These are an excellent opportunity for you to share your work, meet other researchers and build a network of contacts.

Our own research conferences and seminars offer you the opportunity to present and discuss your work among the NTU research community.

You may also have the opportunity to teach undergraduate students or supervise laboratory work.

School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences The School of Animal Rural and Environmental Sciences has a growing research community of approximately 30 academic staff and 15 postgraduate (PhD) research students.

In REF 2014 all our work was classified as internationally or nationally recognised.

The School is based on the rural Brackenhurst campus, set in a 200ha mixed farm with an equestrian centre, cattle and sheep, animal care unit, poultry unit and access to a range of habitats for wildlife.

Many research students also undertake fieldwork overseas. Our students benefit from the personalised support available in a smaller School, whilst being part of the larger cohort within the University and having access to all its training and facilities.

Research themes and areas

Our research focuses on four main themes:

• Natural environment

• Ecology and conservation

• Sustainable agriculture and food security

• Animal behaviour, performance and welfare Sustainable production of exotic plants in zoos: for diet, environmental enrichment and enclosure design To address the internal requirement for fresh vegetation for diet, environmental enrichment and enclosure design limited by the space requirements of traditional crop production methods. As well as being used for feeding animals, and in gardening and landscaping, plants are used in zoo animal enclosures to recreate the animals' natural habitats as closely as possible. Zoo exhibits place species in ‘natural’ environments, addressing the need for environmental enrichment and psychological well-being of the species. The use of indigenous plant species for the correct environment may not be viable particularly in outdoor exhibits, so suitable non-toxic exotic and alternative species have to be identified. Plants for browse and specific diets can be obtained, fresh or dry, but can be costly.

This project aims to determine how species can be grown under protection and how sustainable production of exotic species can be developed using new technology and minimal space. Urban soils can often present problems for growing plant species so soilless systems will be explored. External stakeholders for this project will include BIAZA zoos and safari parks and technological developers in horticulture to see whether areas within zoos can be developed for maximum plant production.

Publications This is a new area of research and subsequently has not been investigated within this context or with the knowledge of both zoo animal welfare/needs and horticulture.

Therefore, there are currently no publications relevant to this topic area.

Other publications zoo focussed include:

Ward SJ, and Melfi V (2015). Keeper-Animal Interactions: Differences between • the Behaviour of Zoo Animals Affect Stockmanship. PLoS ONE 10(10): e0140237.


Ward, SJ, and Melfi, V (2013). The implications of husbandry training on zoo • animal response rates. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 147, 179– 185.

Lester, K.M. and Ward, S.J. (In prep.) To behave or misbehave? An investigation • into the compliance of captive trained California Sea Lions (Zalophus californianus).

Supervisors: Dr Anne Coules and Dr Samantha Ward Supervisor biogs Dr Anne Coules is the course leader for BSc International Horticulture and the senior lecturer in horticulture team. Research background in growing media, completed trials funded by Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP). Member of International Society of Horticultural Science (ISHS), experience as editor, editorial board and member of scientific committee for International Symposium on Growing Media and Composting. She works closely with commercial horticultural companies conducting growth trials, new product development and consultancy. She has worked as a consultant agronomist in Africa and the Mediterranean. Previous supervision of PhD as a co-supervisor- Optimisation of distillery co-products for use in poultry feed completed 2012.

Dr Samantha Ward has experience conducting and supervising zoo based research (including the papers mentioned above) with a behaviour and welfare focus and is a member of the BIAZA Research Committee REG. She currently is on supervisory teams for two PhD students, one at NTU (red squirrel behavioural ecology) and one based at Murdoch University, Australia who is investigating the housing and husbandry implications on oral health in captive kangaroos across Europe and Australia.

Entry Requirements

In order to be eligible to apply, you must hold, or expect to obtain, a UK Master’s degree with a minimum of a merit, and/or a UK 1stClass/2.1 Bachelor’s degree in biological/plant/animal sciences or related subject. The minimum English language proficiency requirement for candidates who have not undertaken a higher degree at a UK HE institution is IELTS 6.5 (with no element to be below 6.0).

Contact: anne.coules@ntu.ac.uk or Samantha.ward@ntu.ac.uk for informal discussions about this project.

Applications should be made to the Doctoral School – www.ntu.ac.uk/doctoralschool The development of a chemically amended coir growing media for crop production Coir is washed of salts during processing for use as a growing media, it is proposed that a supplement will be added after washing to adhere to the coir fibres to provide slow release nutrients using technology currently used in the pharmaceutical industry. The world is facing a potential crisis in terms of food security. The challenge is to provide the world’s growing population with a sustainable, secure supply of safe, nutritious, and affordable high-quality food using less land, with lower inputs, and in the context of global climate change, other environmental changes and declining resources. Current UK government has a progressive phase-out target on peat usage as a growing media voluntary for amateur garden products by 2020 and 2030 for professional growers.

The edible horticulture sector in the UK has an annual turnover of £3.7bn at farmgate and employs around 100,000 people. Research on growing media amendments and alternative materials to peat have been on-going in the industry for over 20 years. Coir is a suitable alternative to peat, a waste product of the coconut industry and used in the horticultural sector. Coir is not a uniform material and the end product is variable, it has very little nutritional benefits and is high in salts, these are washed out during the processing.


Carlile,W.R., Cattivello, C and Zaccheo, P.(2015) Organic Growing Media:

• Constituents and Properties. The Soil Science of America Vadose Zone Journal Vol 14 no.6 Coules A, Carlile WR, Ni Chualain D, Storage properties of bark-based peat-free • growing media containing pas 100 green compost. ISHS International conference on Growing Media, Barcelona October 2011, page 59 De, L., Madrigal, J.A., Bencsik, M., Cave, G.W.V., Rees, R.C., Travers, P.J. and • Dodi, I.A., 2005. Hemato nanotechnology: artificial APC system for T cell adoptive and active immunotherapy. Blood, 106 (11), p. 3907.

Noguera, P., Abad, M., Noguera, V., Puchades, R. and Maquieira, A. (2000).

• Coconut coir waste, a new and viable ecologically-friendly peat substitute. Acta Hortic. 517, 279-286 DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2000.517.34 Ramírez-Arias, A., Pineda-Pineda,J., Gutiérrez, M., Ojeda-Bustamante,W. (2014) • Sawdust and coco coir as growing media for greenhouse cherry tomatoes. Acta Hortic. 1037, 1063-1066 DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2014.1037.140 Supervisors: Dr Anne Coules and Dr Gareth Cave Supervisor biogs Dr Anne Coules is the course leader for BSc International Horticulture and senior lecturer in horticulture team. Research background in growing media, completed trials funded by Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP). Member of International Society of Horticultural Science (ISHS), experience as editor, editorial board and member of scientific committee for International Symposium on Growing Media and Composting.

She works closely with commercial horticultural companies conducting growth trials, new product development and consultancy. She has worked as a consultant agronomist in Africa and the Mediterranean. Previous supervision of PhD as a co-supervisor.

Dr Cave is a Principal lecturer in Chemistry and Forensic Science he teaches on the following modules, Inorganic Chemistry, Skills for Chemistry, Chemistry of Modern Day Materials, Advanced Techniques, Green Chemistry, Research Methodology, Dissertations and Metabolomics and Drug Design. He has extensive research experience and his areas of interest are the following Therapeutic transport devices, MRI / NMR contrast agents, Supramolecular chemistry, Green chemistry - with emphasis on physical-life sciences interface, Nanometre scale drug / therapeutic delivery, Nano partials, Crystal engineering, X-Ray crystallography, Organometallic chemistry, Supramolecular chemistry, NMR spectroscopy and Micro arrays. He has extensive supervisory experience and has attracted funding from NERC, EPSRC, and NTU

Entry Requirements

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