Behavioural physiology of juvenile tropical rock lobster (Panulirus ornatus); the influence of social structures on growth, cannibalism and feeding efficiencies

Closing Date

2nd November 2020*

Applicants should contact the primary supervisor, and submit their Expression of Interest (EOI) and Application as soon as possible.

*unless filled earlier

The Research Project

This project will examine the effect of behaviour and social structures on growth, survival and feeding from the 1st juvenile stage lobsters to market size. High mortality can occur in the early juvenile rearing of P. ornatus. One of the contributing factors is the tendency for cannibalism, particularly in the early juvenile stages. This behavioural trait will be one of the focal points for this study. As spiny lobsters have complex social structures further aspects of their culture performance is very likely to be influence by behaviour. Social structures are likely to influence feeding (disparity and timing) and growth (disparity) with size, gender, stocking density, shelter availability, tank configuration and ontogeny.

Much of the behavioural data of this study will be collected via the use of videography and may also include the use of hydrophones to explore acoustic communication to better understand social structure and behaviour. There will also be a molecular analysis (e.g. transcriptome profiling) within the study of aggression, dominance-subordinance and cannibalism. Experimentation will include both longer term trials that mimic commercial rearing and short term experiments where animals will be held in various combinations on smaller scales to better characterise behaviour.

  • Research experience or undergraduate training in aquaculture, physiology, nutrition, animal behaviour 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
  • 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

See the following web page for entry requirements:

Assessment Criteria
  • Applicants will be assessed and ranked according to the quality of their basis for entry research degree and institution, prior peer reviewed publications, academic awards, project-specific skills, training or relevant industry experience, referee’s reports and supervisory support
Application Process

Applicants who require more information or are interested in this specific project should first contact the listed Supervisor. Information and guidance on the application process can be found on the Apply Now website.

Information about scholarships is available on the Scholarships webpage.

More Information

Please contact, Quinn Fitzgibbon for further information.