Ph.D. scholarships in ecology & conservation

phdPh.D. projects now offered in the Dynamics of Eco-Evolutionary Patterns (D.E.E.P.) research group, based at the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Tasmania. We study ecological and evolutionary dynamics, global change, and conservation biology. Our study systems include plants and animals, with a focus on the unique Australian environment.

The Ph.D. project topics include the response of biota to global change, dynamics of ecological communities, ecosystem modelling, conservation biology, threatened species management, and impacts of land-use change on biodiversity. The three major research themes are:
(i) using ‘patterns’ to understand the processes shaping ecosystem structure and dynamics;
(ii) technology and biology: never the twain shall meet? and
(iii) faunal habitat use and the impacts of disturbance (biodiversity and conservation).

We are also open to the possibility of exploring other projects and welcome students to express their own research ideas.

DEEPCandidates from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds are encouraged to apply. In addition to TGRS, APA or IPRS scholarships (which covers course fees and provides a tax-exempt stipend of $26,288 p.a. [2016 rate]) there will be substantial operational and logistical support, funded by a 5-year research grant to Prof. BW Brook (ARC Australian Laureate Fellow). An additional top-up award of $4,000 p.a. will also be considered for outstanding applicants.

Click on the hyperlinks above for more detailed information on the topics, and how to apply. See here for an overview of Projects and Opportunities for students in D.E.E.P.

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5 Comments

  1. Surprised that so few people commented on this…

    It might be fun taking these eco classes, but it seems like a pretty worthless degree. It would be nice to think that more people would be majoring in nuclear engineering, in an attempt to solve the problem before it wrecks civilization. But no guarantee that nuclear engineers will get a job either, as the world moves towards shutting down nukes and replacing them with windmills. So maybe a degree in windmill engineering is the ticket to a future job? Or learn how to manufacture wood stoves, and stone axes (to supply the fuel).

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  2. So often, we laymen read of the relationships between elements in an ecology as being in a “dynamic equilibrium”. However, with climates changing too fast for new equilibria to be reached, we need freshly trained experts to be telling us what is happening, and what is going to happen. We need to know what habitats can be preserved or adapted, and which habitats that we ought to bottle while we can.

    David Bowman once said words to the effect, I shudder to think what will happen to the world’s forests in a 2° warmer world. Well, we need trained experts to be telling us what those pressures are, how we can relieve them, and what will happen if we don’t.

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  3. Roger, I agree that the concept of equilibrium in ecology and evolution is illusory — at least, under practical time scales. A dynamic equilibrium might imply fluxes and transitions between temporary stable states, which seems more plausible.

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  4. We often speak of dynamic systems as being “cycles”, each with an equilibrium, however that requires that its forcing functions do not vary with time. For modelling purposes, we only need to estimate what the forcing functions are, so that we can run a model of the system into the future. It may converge on an equilibrium, it may vary seemingly aimlessly, or it may diverge indefinitely.

    In a familiar example, it is folly to speak of a 2° equilibrium increase for the global climate while the CO2 concentration is increasing, as the CO2 inevitably affects the forcing functions, most of them adversely, and precludes any hope of reaching any equilibrium temperature.

    We need fresh postgraduates, wise with the latest measurements of the forcing functions, to predict what is about to happen next with each of our systems that are being thrown around by the changing climate.

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