Conservation of plant communities in forest landscapes

Degree type

PhD

Closing date

29 October 2021

Campus

Hobart

Citizenship requirement

Domestic/International Onshore

Scholarship

$28,597pa for 3.5 years

About the research project

This PhD projects will survey the plant communities in Tasmania’s beautiful forests. The project will involve fieldwork in unmanaged reserves and old-growth forest, previously harvested forests and recent fire-impacted sites in a landscape ecology study. Timber harvesting and fire can have substantial impacts on native plant communities, especially for rainforest-associated species. The impacts are expected to vary between species and with disturbance type, intensity and frequency. This project will contribute to a large ARC Future Fellowship study investigating the complex trade-offs involved between biodiversity conservation and timber production. The responses to management of numerous species of plants will be linked with timber yield/revenue across contrasting management systems in a large landscape ecology study. The research aims to guide forest policy by determining the optimal mix of reserves and management to maximise plant conservation outcomes in landscapes available for timber production. Fieldwork plans will be aligned to the larger project to survey biodiversity along a disturbance/age gradient. The candidate will contribute to other aspects of project conceptualization. There may be opportunities for global collaboration to compile/analyse datasets of forestry impacts on plants; the project will involve some advanced data handling and statistical skills. This PhD project will help develop the candidate’s skills in critical thinking, project management, fieldwork, data management and analysis, writing and communication. It will prepare the student for future careers in research, or with government or non-government land management or conservation agencies.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Sue Baker

Funding

The successful applicant will receive a scholarship which provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,597 per annum (2021 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

International applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

Eligibility

The project is open to domestic (Australia and New Zealand) and international applicants who are already in Australia (onshore) at the time of submitting their application.

Due to current Australian COVID-19 travel restrictions the University cannot accept applications from International applicants who are currently overseas.

Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements

Applicants from the following disciplines are encouraged to apply:

  • Ecology
  • Conservation Biology
  • Biological Sciences
  • Environmental Studies
  • Botany
  • Forest Sciences

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • A good understanding of ecology or conservation biology and interest in contributing to biodiversity conservation
  • Species identification capacity (ability to learn plant species identifications rapidly – good visual memory required)
  • Proficiency with statistical analyses, e.g. in R
  • Ability to both work independently and to collaborate and work effectively as part of an interdisciplinary team, including supervising volunteer field assistants and liaising with land management agencies
  • Excellent written and verbal English and scientific communication skills
  • Fieldwork experience
  • Fit, able, and willing to work in remote field areas, sometimes in difficult conditions and basic living arrangements
  • Current driving license
  • The PhD must be undertaken on a full-time basis

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Spatial analysis skills (e.g. training in GIS) and background in multivariate community analyses
  • Previous publication of research in international peer-refereed journals

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr Sue Baker, if you have any questions about the project; and
  3. Click here to submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email.

Apply now Explore other projects

Why the University of Tasmania?

Worldwide reputation for research excellence

Quality supervision and support

Tasmania offers a unique study lifestyle experience