Subalpine grassland ecology

The ecological impacts of management decisions on subalpine vegetation in Tasmania

Degree type


Closing date

29 October 2021



Citizenship requirement

Domestic/International Onshore

About the research project

Subalpine grasslands are a threatened and highly vulnerable plant community, susceptible to threats from conversion to agriculture, introduced species, climate change and alterations to fire regimes. Substantial tracts of Australia’s sub-alpine grasslands have already been lost and even those currently reserved face an uncertain future because the impacts of management interventions are poorly understood. This PhD project will seek to determine the ecological impacts of key land management tools used by reserve managers, namely fire and grazing. Working alongside land managers from the Tasmanian Land Conservancy (TLC), this project will determine how alterations of fire regimes and changes to grazing pressure affect vegetation processes in subalpine areas of the TLC estate. The project will analyse existing survey data but also use experimental burns and grazing treatments to investigate how key ecological processes (recruitment, reproduction, succession) interact to change vegetation trajectories in response to management applied. The outcomes from this project will include tools that allow land managers to create tailor-made management prescriptions to support the survival of threatened communities in subalpine regions across Tasmania.

Primary Supervisor

Meet A/Prof Mark Hovenden


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,597 per annum (2021 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


The project is open to domestic (Australian 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 and the following additional eligibility criteria specific to this project:

  • Applications are open to applicants with a first-class Honours degree in biology, environmental management, agriculture or equivalent

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:

  • Research experience in plant ecology, agriculture or vegetation management

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Experience in grassland ecology, fire management or grassland systematics

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select the project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, A/Prof Mark Hovenden, 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