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**MPhil project** Managing oil palm plantations for greater arthropod biodiversity​

Supervisor: Dr Edgar Turner

Project summary:

Palm oil is the most traded vegetable oil worldwide, with production largely concentrated in Southeast Asia. Although containing far lower biodiversity than tropical forests, oil palm plantations still host a wide range of taxa that can have economic value as predators of pests and pollinators of oil palm inflorescences. However, the impacts of oil palm management on biodiversity and these functions are poorly understood.

This project will investigate the potential of targeted river margin management within established oil palm plantations to increase invertebrate biodiversity, particularly of spiders. Work will make use of a large-scale, long-term experiment that forms part of the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function in Tropical Agriculture Programme (BEFTA –, based in Riau, Indonesia. The student will work closely with Michael Pashkevich, a current PhD student in the Insect Ecology Group, who is studying how oil palm management affects spider communities and who will provide training in identification. The project requires fieldwork in Spring 2021 based in Sumatra, Indonesia.

Please contact Ed Turner ( for more information.