Teagasc: PhD Walsh Fellowship Opportunity

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University College Dublin and Teagasc, Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Grange, Co. Meath
Closes in 2 days (02 Aug)


Teagasc PhD Walsh Fellowship Opportunity

“Effect of genetic potential for carcass fatness and sward species composition on methane emissions and the composition and functionality of the rumen microbiome in beef cattle”

Background

Under the Paris Agreement, Ireland has committed to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 30% by 2030, compared to those in 2005 and to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 (DAFM, 2019). The unique co-evolution of the ruminant and its constituent rumen microbiome allows for the conversion of the plant matter into high-quality beef and dairy products to the benefit of global society. However during ruminal feed digestion, methane, a GHG 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide, is released as a byproduct of rumen microbial fermentation accounting for a loss of dietary energy to the host, of between 2–12% depending, on the diet. Our group and others have shown that variation in the composition of grazed pasture can regulate both the composition and potential functionality of the ruminal microbiome. For example, when compared with perennial ryegrass pasture, grazing of mixed swards containing white clover (WC) resulted in lower methane emissions in both grazing and dairy cows and those offered cut fresh pasture, indoors. In addition, previous work from our group indicates reduced relative abundance of methanogenic archaea in cattle offered the swards containing WC. While some effort has been conducted to assess the impact of mixed species swards on the rumen microbial profile of grazing dairy cows there is no such data available for beef cattle. In this project, we will assess the effects of mixedspecies swards on enteric methane emissions and diversity, abundance and functionality of rumen bacteria and archael communities. These diets will be assessed across two beef cattle genotypes divergent of genetic potential for carcass fatness. The microbial data will be correlated with methane emissions and production data from previous tasks to provide a greater understanding of the mechanism of the effects of sward type on the rumen microbiome and overall environmental impact.

Requirements

Applicants will have, or expect to obtain a high honours grade in a biological science degree (e.g., Agricultural Science, Animal Science, Biology, Genetics, Veterinary Medicine). The successful candidate will be expected to register with the School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin for a 4-year Ph.D. degree. The research will be collaborative, involving scientists at University College Dublin and Teagasc, Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Grange, Co. Meath.

Award

The fellowship funding is €22,000 per annum and includes University fees of up to a maximum of €6,000 per annum and is tenable for 4 years.

Further Information/Applications

Dr. Alan Kelly, School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4. Phone +353 (0) 1 7167775, email: alan.kelly@ucd.ie

Dr. Paul Crosson, Teagasc Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Grange, Dunsany, Co. Meath. Phone +353 (0)46 9026100, email: paul.crosson@teagasc.ie

Prof. David Kenny, Teagasc Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Grange, Dunsany, Co. Meath. Phone +353 (0)46 9026100, email: david.kenny@teagasc.ie

Application Procedure

A letter of interest together with a curriculum vitae and the names and contact details of two referees should be sent by email to alan.kelly@ucd.ie , paul.crosson@teagasc.ie or david.kenny@teagasc.ie

Closing date for receipt of applications: August 2, 2021.

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