Current Vacancies

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.

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.

PhD candidate within pollution and infection susceptibility in migrating shorebirds

We are looking for a PhD candidate keen on studying the combined impact of pollution and infection susceptibility on migrating shorebirds. The specific hypothesis of the project are that:

1) susceptibility to infections (e.g. avian influenza) will increase in a host due to high exposure to environmental pollution;

2) pollutants modulate the immune system in a specific manner that facilitates infection prevalence and/or disease severity;

3) microRNA profiles can be used as a predictive tool to assess disease outbreaks and severity.

The position is based at NTNU in Trondheim, Norway, and financed by the Norwegian Research Council and has a special responsibility within the project COAST-IMPACT (August 2020 – July 2023).

The overall aim of COAST-IMPACT is to study the impact of pollution in the coastal wetlands of East Asia by assessing the biodiversity of littoral macroinvertebrates, and the resulting impact of food availability, pollution and infection in migrating shorebirds along the East Asian Australian Flyway using these wetlands.

The field component of this PhD project will be linked to the ongoing large-scale study of migrating shorebirds in Australia (Melbourne in Victoria, and Broome in Western Australia).

Secondly, the lab component of the project will elucidate the mechanisms driving pollutant-induced immunomodulation that relate to increased infection susceptibility in the host (targeting microRNAs and inflammation markers).

Lastly, the obtained data will be used to develop diagnostic biomarkers to assess infection and exposure that will allow to improve disease outbreak predictions for the future.

For further information and to apply for this position CLICK HERE (PhD position) or contact Prof Marcel Klaassen.

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.