The characterisation of the healthy microbiota of the complete tropical (Panulirus ornatus) rearing system and development of methods for potential pathogen detection and identification

Degree type


Closing date

20 August 2022



Citizenship requirement

Domestic/International Onshore


$28,597pa for 3.5 years

About the research project

This PhD will aim to identify potential disease-causing agents in onshore lobster culture systems. With the intensification of lobster culture there is the suggestion that many putative pathogens will emerge that are yet to be identified or their associated diseases observed and reported.Biosecurity is an essential aspect of this emerging aquaculture industry and it is vital to ensure that cultured lobsters are healthy to ensure the sustainability of lobster aquaculture. The closed-nature of onshore RAS provides the ability to monitor and treat all inputs and outputs to the system. This research will use portable real-time third generation nucleic acid sequencing to characterise the microbiota of the tropical rock lobster (TRL) rearing system to provide a baseline as to what microorganisms (bacteria, viruses and eukaryotic microbes) are associated with the culture of healthy lobsters. This will allow the detection and identification of known and unknown pathogens that may enter the system or opportunistically impact the culture environment. It is envisaged that detailed knowledge of the microbiota and the ability to archive this information for future interrogation will lay the foundations for and allow onshore RAS lobster aquaculture to set a new standard for aquaculture biosecurity.

Primary Supervisor

Meet A/Prof Andrew Bridle


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 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)

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


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

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:

  • Graduates with a strong academic record (e.g. BSc Hons, MSc or equivalent qualifications demonstrated by publication record) in aquaculture, ecology, marine biology, molecular biology and zoology or similar

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Research experience or undergraduate training in aquaculture, physiology, nutrition, aquatic health and/or molecular biology (project specific)
  • Demonstrated experience in aquaculture growth or feeding experiments and laboratory analytical analysis
  • Keen interest in and desire for a career in aquaculture and/or marine ecology

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, A/Prof Andrew Bridle, 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.

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