Population genomics of Australian alpine plants: Identifying vulnerable plant species and climate-ready seed sources
PhD opportunity- Deakin University (Warrnambool campus)
The ECOGENETICS LAB is seeking a PhD candidate to contribute to an Australian Research Council funded research program aimed at enhancing the resilience of Australian alpine plant communities through strategic restoration practices.
The Australian Alps are recognized as one of the world’s major biodiversity hotspots and critically vulnerable to climate change. Here, plant communities are already showing signs of climate stress, threatening environmental and associated cultural and socioeconomic values in the region.
The persistence of alpine plant species under climate change will largely depend on plastic responses or rapid evolutionary change. Some species will likely tolerate substantial environmental fluctuations via existing plasticity, while others are expected to be pushed to physiological limits and become increasingly dependent on evolving to maintain current distributions.
The PhD candidate will use a combination of common garden and genomic approaches to decipher the likely contributions of plasticity, local adaptation and gene flow to future adaptive responses in a range of functionally important alpine plant species. This study will help to improve biodiversity outcomes under climate change by identifying key plant species with reduced adaptive potential and in need of intervention, as well ‘climateready’ seed sources for restoration purposes.
This exciting project will involve a combination of field work in the Australian alps and lab-based activities, and partnerships with a number of government agencies and Australian universities. The position is based at Deakin’s Warrnambool campus and is available to both domestic and international students. The student will be supervised by Dr Adam Miller, Dr Susanna Venn (Deakin University), Prof Adrienne Nicotra (Australian National University) and Prof John Morgan (La Trobe University).
Applicants are expected to have an excellent grade (e.g., H1 or HD) in an Honours or a MSc research program, and proven skills in scientific writing. We are seeking candidates with a specific interest and experience in wildlife ecology, botany, or ecological genetics (not essential). The successful candidate will be awarded a 3-year PhD scholarship (~AU$28,000 p.a. tax free) through the School of Life and Environmental Sciences.
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