PhD Position: Microbiology and greenhouse gas dynamics of inland wetlands

Blue Carbon Lab - A Deakin IdeaBackground:  Wetlands are among earth’s most efficient ecosystems for carbon sequestration, but can also emit potent greenhouse gases depending on how they are managed. The overall objective of this industry-based research project is to devise ways to maximise carbon sequestration by inland wetlands and minimise release of greenhouse gases.

Specifically, this project will: 1) trial new techniques for monitoring wetland carbon sequestration based on protocols recently proposed by the Blue Carbon Lab; and 2) quantify and constrain seasonal and diel rates of methane and carbon dioxide emissions from inland wetlands while simultaneously identifying key microbial communities and genes involved in wetland carbon metabolism.

This project will represent a major advance in our understanding of carbon fluxes from Australian floodplain freshwater wetlands. The project will enhance our capacity for accurate national carbon budgets and greenhouse gas accounting and build upon Australia’s fundamental knowledge base and international research profile regarding wetland carbon sequestration dynamics.

Project partners: Deakin University and Murray Local Land Services.

Value: AUD$26,681 per annum plus project costs. Other benefits see HERE.

Research environment: Deakin ranks in the top 3% of universities globally and is Australia’s eighth largest university. Deakin’s Blue Carbon Lab (BCL, is emerging as a leading group in global efforts to establish science that underpins practical efforts to offset carbon emissions with blue carbon ecosystems, which includes wetlands. BCL’s members include specialists in ecology, spatial analysis, microbiology, soil science, chemistry, and modelling. The project will provide an opportunity for a PhD student to receive valuable research training from leading scientists within Deakin, its collaborators (e.g. Southern Cross University), and resource managers at Murray Local Land Services.

Supervisory team: The supervisory team consists of Dr Peter Macreadie (Deakin University, Head of Blue Carbon Lab) as the Principal Supervisor, Dr Paul Carnell (Deakin University, Postdoctoral Fellow) as Associate Supervisor, and Dr Trish Bowen as Industry Supervisor.

Closing date: The position will remain open until filled. A first assessment of applications will be contacted in April 2017.

Citizenship: This position is open to domestic and international applicants.

Selection criteria:

  1. A first class Honours or Masters degree with experience in environmental microbiology.
  2. A proven track record of academic excellence. Applicants with first-authored publications in quality journals will score highly.
  3. Experience in collecting field data and capacity to undertake independent fieldwork.
  4. Capacity to implement research in collaboration with a range of stakeholders (government agencies, private landholders, conservation groups etc.).
  5. Strong English written communication skills including the capacity to write research results into scientific papers.

Special requirements: Manual drivers licence.

To apply: Email the following information to

  1. A letter (2 pages max)
    1. Addressing each of the selection criteria
    2. A summary of your research experience
    3. Your reasons for wanting to do a PhD
    4. Information on how your skills will be relevant to the project
  2. A copy of your academic transcript
  3. An example of your written work as lead author (e.g. paper, manuscript, thesis)