Current Vacancies

The following PhD positions are currently available:
1. PhD scholarship on the role of incubation behaviour in developmental programming (see below).
2. PhD scholarship on development of methods for the recovery of intertidal seagrass meadows (see below).
3. Two PhD opportunities in coastal and marine science (see below).
4. Two PhD positions on parrot disease ecology and genomics (see below).

PhD scholarship: Role of incubation behaviour in developmental programming

Please click here for further information and application details.

We are seeking an outstanding, highly motivated PhD candidate to work on a new ARC Discovery project “Revisiting the ontogeny of vocal learning in birds: from neuron to fitness”. Previous work by our group has demonstrated the importance of incubation calling behaviour in programming developmental outcomes (Mariette and Buchanan Science 2016). The aims of this PhD research program are to determine how incubation behaviour may determine developmental trajectories and heat adaptation in Zebra Finches. The PhD student will work in a vibrant and productive research team testing the role of incubation behaviour for nest temperature regulation and nestling development. They will conduct behavioural assays, bioacoustics analyses, monitor environmental conditions and assess developmental outcomes for nestlings. There will be the chance to develop skills in assessing physiological condition, gene expression and hormone production.

PhD scholarship: Seagrass Restoration: Development of methods for the recovery of intertidal seagrass meadows

Please click here for further information and to access the expression of interest form.

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.

In Western Port (South Eastern Australia), seagrass represents a major marine habitat, however, there has been significant loss of meadows over the last 40-50 years. Efforts to improve water quality and sediment loads in the 1990s and 2000s has seen improvements in the overall condition and extent of seagrass meadows in some parts of the bay, however, natural recovery has been slow and some areas have shown no sign of recovery despite improved water quality. Potential reasons for the lack of recovery in these areas may be the absence of seed banks or propagule supply, or that the local environmental conditions are no longer suitable (e.g. there may have been a change in sedimentary conditions). Rehabilitation and restoration of seagrass through seeds and/or transplant units, provides a mechanism to facilitate reestablishment in areas where natural recovery has not occurred and assist more rapid recovery in areas where natural recovery is occurring slowly.

Proposed research project: This project will develop restoration and recovery methodology for intertidal seagrass meadows in Western Port. The program will use a combination of field based trials and mesocosm experiments based at the Queenscliff marine research station to develop the appropriate methodologies needed for seagrass habitat restoration in Western Port.

Two PhD opportunities in coastal and marine science in Victoria, Australia

Please click here for full project and application details.

Along the shorelines of South-eastern Australia, there is concern that a lack of sediment supply, rising sea level and climate change will impact sediment circulation patterns, leading to the destabilization of nearshore-beach-dune systems through erosion, overwash, and backshore transgression. We aim to explore the fundamental interconnectedness that drives shoreline change in Victoria, Australia. Despite the acknowledgment of coastal sediment dynamics being critical to sustainable management knowledge of shoreline behaviour and sediment movement is limited. The determination of sediment volume, type, quantity (i.e. extent and thickness) and morphology will be important to better understand the coastal sediment budgets and shoreline evolution. As a result the Victorian Government, though the Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning has formed a partnership with Deakin University and The University of Melbourne to develop the Victorian Coastal Monitoring Program. The aim of this program is to develop predictive models of future shoreline behaviour through understanding sediment dynamics derived from the latest innovative technologies from multibeam and subbottom sonar mapping, citizen-science UAV/Drones and disciplines including remote sensing, marine sedimentology and habitat mapping.

Two PhD positions on disease ecology and genomics in parrots

Please click here for the full project and application details.

We seek two outstanding, highly motivated PhD candidates to work on the ARC Discovery project ‘Genomic diversity, tolerance and ecology of wildlife disease’ with Professors Andy Bennett and Soren Alexandersen (Deakin and GCEID), Dr Matt Berg (Deakin) and Professor Scott Edwards (Harvard).

The students will be based at Deakin University, Geelong (near Melbourne, Australia) in a research group in the Centre for Integrative Ecology (CIE) and the Geelong Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases (GCEID) with opportunities for travel to Scott Edward’s lab at Harvard USA. The research project will commence in January 2018 and students need to start by July 2018, preferably earlier.