PhD position @ Deakin University – Seagrass Restoration – Development of methods for the recovery of intertidal seagrass meadows

Seagrass Restoration – Development of methods for the recovery of intertidal seagrass meadows

PhD opportunity – Deakin University (Queenscliff Marine Research Station)

Industry partner: Melbourne Water

Start Date: As soon as a suitable candidate is found

Overview: As key ecosystem engineers, seagrasses provide a range of important ecosystem services including nutrient cycling, carbon sequestration, coastal protection, and providing a structurally complex habitat to a variety of vertebrate and invertebrate species.

Given these important roles, there has been increasing concern about the rapid declines seagrass populations are now experiencing globally.

Proposed research project: This project will develop restoration and recovery methodology for intertidal seagrass meadows in Western Port, Australia. The program will use a combination of field- based trials and nursery experiments to develop the appropriate methodologies needed for seagrass habitat restoration in Western Port.

About you: The candidate should have a strong academic background in ecological theory, GIS and experience in field ecology. They will need to demonstrate strong writing and quantitative analysis skills and be highly self-motivated. The project is funded for three years; the successful student will be competitive for, and encouraged to apply for, additional internal and external funding sources.

How to apply: Interested applicants are asked to complete and send the HDR expression of interest form to Dr Craig Sherman (craig.sherman@deakin.edu.au). Successful candidates will then be invited to proceed with a formal application.


For more available positions within the CIE please visit our Current Vacancies page.

PhD position @ Deakin University – Population dynamics of shorebirds in peril

Population dynamics of shorebirds in peril

PhD opportunity – Deakin University (Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus)

Project Supervisor: Prof. Marcel Klaassen

Research topic: Among all long-distance migratory birds, the ~8M shorebirds along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway have notably been hit hard by global change, with population declines up to 80%. The ARC funded Discovery Project “Are pollutants and emerging diseases endangering a global migratory flyway?” investigates the role of chemical pollution on disease susceptibility and survival in these shorebirds.

This will be done by using an extensive collection of blood and virus samples obtained from a wide range of shorebird species while they were spending the non-breeding season in Australia over the past nine years, along with 40 years of banding and re-sighting data (more than 500,000 observations).
The research project as a whole, which is a collaboration between Deakin University, Peter Doherty Institute (viruses), Norwegian University of Science and Technology (pollutants), Victorian Wader Study Group (banding) and Australasian Wader Studies Group (banding), aims to provide essential data for developing mitigation strategies to help curb the populations’ demise, while simultaneously informing on the effects of pollution on the role of migrants in disease spread.

This research is partially funded by the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council.

Project aim: This HDR project will focus on analysing the banding and resighting data provided by Victorian Wader Study Group (VWSG) and Australasian Wader Studies Group (AWSG) with the specific aim of extracting annual recruitment and annual survival data for a number of key species. In a next step, these annual variations as well as species-specific differences in recruitment and survival will be linked to a range of global change processes including climate change, pollution and habitat destruction.

Important dates: Applications will remain open until a suitable candidate has been found.

Benefits: This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • Stipend of $28,106 per annum tax exempt (2020 rate)
  • International students only: Tuition fees offset for the duration of 4 years. Single Overseas Student Health Cover policy for the duration of the student visa.

Eligibility criteria: To be eligible you must:

  • be either a domestic or international candidate (domestic includes candidates with Australian Citizenship, Australian Permanent Residency or New Zealand Citizenship).
  • meet Deakin’s PhD entry requirements.
  • be enrolling full time and hold an honours degree (first class) or an equivalent standard master’s degree with a substantial research component.

Please refer to the research degree entry pathways page for further information.

Additional desirable criteria include:

  • Must have very strong computer skills, strong statistical skills and some R experience.

For more available positions within the CIE please visit our Current Vacancies page.

PhD position @ Deakin University – Call for new HDR candidates in Science and Technology Studies (STS)

Call for new HDR candidates in Science and Technology Studies (STS)

This PhD opportunity includes options for working with the Centre for Integrative Ecology in cross-disciplinary biodiversity conservation-related projects

The Alfred Deakin Institute and Deakin Science and Society Network are seeking individuals that are passionate about pursuing Science and Technology Studies (STS) as part of a fully-funded and well-supported PhD program.

STS is a multidisciplinary field that explores how cultural and political forces shape technology, scientific knowledge and society.

Applications close September 30th, 2020

For more information click HERE


For more available positions within the CIE please visit our Current Vacancies page.

PhD position @ Deakin University (Burwood campus) – Population genomics of Australian alpine plants: Identifying vulnerable plant species and climate-ready seed sources

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.

Contact Adam Miller (a.miller@deakin.edu.au) or visit our lab page (ECOGENETICS LAB) for furture details.


For more available positions within the CIE please visit our Current Vacancies page.

Senior Field Ecology Technician position @ Deakin University (Burwood campus)

Senior Field Ecology Technician

Based at our Burwood Campus, this exciting role will be responsible for planning, coordinating and implementing surveys for targeted reptiles, small mammal and flora, using a survey design that enables the interactive effect of fire and feral herbivores to be discovered.

We will also consider applicants for three casual field positions.

Applications close Aug 17

For more information click HERE


For more available positions within the CIE please visit our Current Vacancies page.

PhD position @ Deakin University (Burwood campus) – Determining the resilience of Australian alpine plants in a future climate

PhD position – Determining the resilience of Australian alpine plants in a future climate

The eXtreme Plant Ecology Research Team in the Centre for Integrative Ecology 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. Alpine plant communities are already showing signs of climate stress, are under threat from exotic pest plants and animals, and are recovering from a legacy of stock grazing.

As a result, large areas of alpine environments require ongoing restoration works across National Parks and Alpine Resorts. There is urgent need for progressive management strategies to maximise restoration success through consideration of future soil water availability, plant thermal tolerances, and the adaptability of functionally important plant species.

To bolster the resilience of alpine landscapes under climate change; we must understand the interactions between the physical and biological processes underpinning the health of alpine environments and adaptability of alpine plant communities.

An excellent PhD candidate with a background in ecological science and/or botany is sought to join an exciting project, co-funded by the Centre for Integrative Ecology and the Australian Research Council and our industry partners Parks Victoria, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Mount Hotham Alpine Resort and Southern Alpine Resort Management Board, and will make use of the Australian Mountain Research Facility.

Depending of the project scope, the candidate will have a unique opportunity to focus on aspects of:

  • Plant water relations and ecophysiology
  • Plant regeneration and recruitment
  • Seed ecology
  • Snow ecology
  • Plant thermal tolerance

The results of the project will assist alpine land managers choose the right species for restoration projects, thereby building resilience into these vulnerable environments.

The candidate will join the new and supportive eXtreme Plant Ecology Research Team at Deakin Burwood campus, and will be jointly supervised by Susanna Venn, Adam Miller, John Morgan (La Trobe University) and Adrienne Nicotra (Australian National 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 plant ecology, botany, or plant ecophysiology.

The successful candidate will be awarded a 3-year PhD scholarship (~AU$28,000 p.a. tax free) through the Centre of Integrative Ecology and the School of Life and Environmental Sciences.

An anticipated commencement date is October 2020 or early 2021.

Please get in touch with us for more information:
Susanna Venn (Susanna.venn@deakin.edu.au) or Adam Miller (a.miller@deakin.edu.au)


For more available positions within the CIE please visit our Current Vacancies page.

2 x PhD opportunities @ Cawthron Institute (NZ), in collaboration with Deakin and Macquarie universities – Marine ecology, biosecurity and network modelling

Marine ecology, biosecurity and network modelling

2 x PhD positions @ Cawthron Institute (NZ), in collaboration with Deakin and Macquarie universities

Cawthron Institute, in collaboration with Deakin and Macquarie universities (Australia), is seeking two PhD candidates to augment a new, 5-year research programme that will develop improved tools for the prevention, detection and management of marine pest incursions.

Descriptions and contact details for the PhD positions are listed below:

Green engineering and substrate enhancement: This PhD project will be part of a broader workstream that aims to develop artificial substrates for enhancing native species communities on coastal infrastructure. It will develop a more holistic understanding of the structural and chemical habitat requirements of native intertidal-shallow subtidal species (such as green-lipped mussels) and replicate these using state-of-the-art imaging and printing technology to enhance native biota on marine infrastructure, increase invasion resistance and other ecosystem services. The candidate will then put their newly designed surfaces to the test in real-world situations. This PhD project will require field-sampling, experimental work in the laboratory and field, microscopy, structural design, statistical analyses and data interpretation. In-depth collaboration with chemists, additive manufacturers and engineers will be a key component to this research. This fully funded position will be hosted by Cawthron Institute, with enrolment through Macquarie University (Sydney, Australia). For more information on this opportunity please contact Dr Paul South (paul.south@cawthron.org.nz). Please attach a CV, names of three referees, and academic transcripts to expressions of interest. Information about entry requirements at Macquarie University can be found here.

Development of a domestic maritime network model: Movements of vessels, aquaculture stock and equipment and other maritime infrastructure are principal pathways for the spread of non-indigenous marine species. Every day, hundreds of recreational, merchant, passenger, fishing and aquaculture vessels transit between New Zealand’s ports, marinas, urban coastal centres, aquaculture farms, marine reserves and iconic natural and culturally significant coastal areas, creating a complex maritime transport network. Understanding the dynamics of this network and its ability to facilitate the spread of non-indigenous species in space and time will enable regulators and industry to implement meaningful approaches to prevention and management of biosecurity risks. This PhD project will assist with the development of a maritime network model for New Zealand, and the use of this model for simulating incursion and response scenarios to facilitate the development of optimised risk mitigation strategies. Enrolment for this fully funded position will be through Deakin University (Melbourne, Australia, at Waurn Ponds campus) but the successful candidate will spend part of his/her time at Cawthron Institute. For more information on this opportunity please contact Dr Eric Treml (e.treml@deakin.edu.au). Please attach a CV, names of three referees, and academic transcripts to expressions of interest.

More details and a link to apply available HERE.


For more available positions within the CIE please visit our Current Vacancies page.

PhD opportunity @ Deakin University – Mechanisms underpinning the formation and stabilisation of coastal blue carbon

Mechanisms underpinning the formation and stabilisation of coastal blue carbon

PhD position within the Blue Carbon Lab @ Deakin university

We are looking for a PhD candidate to join our ARC Discovery grant research on the “Mechanisms underpinning the formation and stabilisation of coastal blue carbon”.

Candidates can apply for either of these two projects:

1. MICROBIAL COMMUNITY GENOMICS WITHIN BLUE CARBON ECOSYSTEMS
The project will aim to address the following:

    • Characterise the functional capacity of microbial communities associated with recalcitrant Blue Carbon;
    • Investigate sequence variation in taxonomic groups, functional gene repertoires and metabolic potential;
    • Provide significant insight into the higher-order community organisation and dynamics of coastal microbiomes, and their variation among habitat type and depth.

2. BIOCHEMICAL MECHANISMS OF BLUE CARBON
The applicant will need to:

    • Characterise recalcitrant carbon within Blue Carbon ecosystems using NMR for particulate organic carbon (POC) and FT-ICR-MS for dissolved organic carbon (DOC);
    • Identify mechanisms of formation and destabilisation of recalcitrant carbon and quantify the impacts of environmental controls;
    • Coordinating all relevant analyses (ie. gas flux measurements, elemental analyses, and chemical characterisation).

How to apply: PhD applicants should email the following documents to Dr Stacey Trevathan-Tackett (strevat@deakin.edu.au):

  • CV highlighting your skills, education, publications and relevant work experience;
  • Cover letter (1 page) outlining your interest in the position and how your previous experience and technical skills suit the position.

Please note:

  • Both projects are open to PhD applicants, who will be enrolled in a 3-year PhD based at Deakin University’s Burwood campus (Melbourne);
  • We are UNABLE to provide individual feedback on competitiveness. The following features were common among PhD candidates interviewed at the Blue Carbon Lab: (a) First authored-paper in scientific journal, (b) first class Honours/Masters, (c) experience directly related to the project, and (d) an accolade that reflects the student being among the top in their academic cohort;
  • Applications will be received until the position is filled.

For more available positions within the CIE please visit our Current Vacancies page.

PhD opportunity @ Deakin University – Fisheries ecology of rock flathead in south eastern Australia

Fisheries ecology of rock flathead in south eastern Australia

PhD Scholarship Opportunity @ Deakin University, Victoria, Australia

We have an exciting opportunity to obtain a PhD scholarship through Deakin University, working with Dr Justin Rizzari and Dr Adam Miller at the Deakin University Queenscliff Marine Science Centre.

The position is available to domestic students only. Applicants should have achieved an excellent grade (e.g., H1 or HD) in an Honours or MSc research program, and proven skills in scientific writing.

We are seeking candidates with an interest and experience in fish biology and ecology. Experience in fish tagging, boating- and diving-based field work, and/or population genetics is desired, but not critical.

Successful candidates will be offered a 3-year PhD scholarship (~AU$28,000 p.a. tax free) through the School of Life and Environmental Sciences to work on the following project funded by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation:

Project: Rock flathead (Platycephalus laevigatus) supports an important commercial fishery in south-eastern Australia. However, the stock structure of rock flathead is largely unknown.

This project will use an integrated approach involving the application of acoustic tracking and chemical tracers coupled with population genomics to address key questions around fisheries stock structure and processes influencing the dynamics of rock flathead fisheries.

Outputs from this program are expected to assist in the sustainable management of the rock flathead fishery and provide an improved understanding of processes shaping marine biodiversity in south-eastern Australia. The project will also involve engaging with government and fisheries industry stakeholders.

To apply, please send your Expression of Interest form (download from HERE) and CV to Dr Justin Rizzari (justin.rizzari@deakin.edu.au).

The position will remain open until a suitable candidate is found. Please note that submission of an Expression of Interest and accompanying documentation is not a formal application for a Research Degree at Deakin.

An ‘Invitation to Apply’ will be required from the Faculty to progress to the formal application stage. The Invitation to Apply does not guarantee an offer of admission and will be subject to any conditions stipulated on the Invitation.


For more available positions within the CIE please visit our Current Vacancies page.

3 PhD positions @ Deakin University – conservation science

3 PhD positions in conservation science

We are currently looking for 3 enthusiastic PhD students for exciting projects in conservation science. The projects are outlined below. More details can be found on A/Prof Emily Nicholson’s lab website, on the selection criteria, the projects and supervision teams.

These projects are largely desk-based (ideal at the moment), but will have strong international and national collaboration networks. Start dates are ASAP – preferably by August/September, but with some flexibility. All three will be funded by Deakin University scholarships, and are open to Australia and international students.

Please note: closing date for all 3 positions is Monday, June 1st 2020.

Project 1: Planning for sustainable development and biodiversity on Indigenous lands

The complexity of planning for sustainable development is exemplified in the Tiwi Islands, 60km north of Darwin in the Northern Territory, Australia. The Tiwi Land Council is seeking to expand economic opportunities for Tiwi communities and to improve social, economic and health outcomes for the Tiwi people, while sustaining the Islands’ unique cultural and biodiversity values.

This project aims to support decision-making on the Tiwi islands, through new methods for collaborative land-use planning that advance knowledge about trade-offs between sustainable economic development and biodiversity conservation on Indigenous lands. Our approach is trans-disciplinary and participatory, integrating Indigenous and scientific knowledge and methods.

This project will:

  1. map past and current distributions of key species, drawing on these different sources, working with Tiwi communities and research assistants, and scientists across Australia, and
  2. develop models of potential future dynamics under scenarios of climate and land-use change, and different management strategies.

Project 2: Improving the implementation and integration of biodiversity risk assessments

The Earth is currently experiencing a global biodiversity crisis. Ecosystems are collapsing and species extinctions are occurring at an unprecedented rate. The IUCN Red List of Ecosystems was developed to assess risks to biodiversity, and is rapidly gaining traction in informing global conservation targets and national assessments of threatened communities. In this project, the PhD student will use a combination of literary synthesis, field work and modelling to explore how the Red List of Ecosystems can be implemented and used to improve conservation outcomes, including developing an understanding of:

  1. how temporal and spatial scale of data influence outcomes of assessments;
  2. how different assessment processes (i.e. the Red List of Ecosystems and the Red List of Threatened Species) work together to enhance conservation decision making;
  3. how Red List assessment can improve management recommendations and outcomes.

Project 3: Connecting biodiversity risk assessment, human well-being and natural capital accounting

Ecosystem degradation and species extinctions are eroding the capacity of the environment to provide essential services that sustain human well-being, economies and social fabrics. Multiple approaches have been developed to assess risks to biodiversity (for example the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and the Red List of Ecosystems), to value the benefits it supports, and to account for stocks and flows of the benefits from natural capital to human well-being. These approaches remain largely disparate, with limited exchanges between extensive ecological and economic knowledge bases and data. In this trans-disciplinary project, the PhD student will bring together different knowledge types and theory to improve the monitoring and management of natural ecosystems. The student will:

  1. review the theory and empirical evidence supporting the relationships between ecosystems, benefits they provide and human well-being; and
  2. use novel modelling and statistical approaches, together with several case studies, to bring together the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems approach and the United Nations System of Environmental Economic Accounting (UN SEEA EEA) approach.

By working with leading authors in both the RLE and SEEA approaches, this exciting PhD project will influence global and national policy approaches and measurement standards.


For more available positions within the CIE please visit our Current Vacancies page.