Current Vacancies

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 ( 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 ( Please attach a CV, names of three referees, and academic transcripts to expressions of interest.

More details and a link to apply available HERE.

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:

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.

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 (

  • 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.

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 (

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.

PhD opportunity @ Deakin University – (Warrnambool campus)

Conservation genomics of the short-finned eel

The ECOGENETICS LAB is seeking a PhD candidate for a research program aimed at addressing critical knowledge gaps around understanding the resilience of short-finned eel fisheries in south-eastern Australia. The project will have a particular focus on the ancient ‘kuuyang” fishery within the UNESCO Budj Bim Cultural Landscape.

This exciting project will involve a combination of field and lab-based activities, and provides an excellent opportunity to develop key skills and knowledge in conservation and fisheries genomics. The project will be conducted in close partnership with Traditional Owners, local government, and industry.

This project will have three complementary research components:

    1. Undertaking population genomic analyses to gain insights into eel stock connectivity and spatial patterns of recruitment across the species range;
    2. Using eDNA tools to assess patterns of habitat use within catchments;
    3. Applying DNA metabarcoding approaches to assess eel diet based on the genomic analysis of eel stomach samples.

Outcomes from this study will provide new insights into the species life history and a resource for assessing the resilience of eel fisheries to environmental change and informing future management.

The position is based at Deakin’s Warrnambool campus and is available to both domestic and international students. Applicants should have achieved 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 an interest and experience in wildlife ecology, fish biology, or ecological genetics (not essential). The successful candidate will be awarded a 3-year PhD scholarship (~AU$28,000 p.a. tax free + $5,000 p.a. scholarship top-up from research partner) through the School of Life and Environmental Sciences.

Contact Dr Adam Miller ( or vist our lab page (ECOGENETICS LAB) for furture details.

Didn’t find what you were looking for? Feel free to drop us an email via our contact page if you’re searching for a PhD scholarship.