Fire in Spanish & Tasmanian Eucalypts

Flammability and Wildfire Resilience of Resprouting Eucalyptus Forests: An intercontinental case study

Degree type


Closing date

18 July 2022



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Wildfire is a global phenomenon affecting many plant communities in temperate regions. One aspect of the globalisation of wildfire regimes is the spread of flammable non-native species. One example of this is the highly flammable Tasmanian blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus), which has been widely used as a plantation species across the globe. This project will study the flammability and wildfire resilience of both native E. globulus forests in Tasmania and naturalised E. globulus forests or plantations in Europe.

This project will involve extensive fieldwork, flammability experiments, and computer-based data analysis, leveraging existing datasets. There is potential for international work in Spain through an international partnership with the University of Vigo, including a four-month student mobility exchange. In the north western Spanish autonomous region of Galicia, large areas of naturalised E. globulus forests have formed on abandoned plantations, and have burnt in wildfires, presenting an opportunity for an intercontinental comparison. The fieldwork will involve measuring the fire severity and fire resilience in recently burnt forests in Tasmania, and potentially Galicia. The lab work component will involve running flammability experiments on different international varieties of E. globulus in the newly constructed University of Tasmania Pyrotron. The project would investigate if international E. globulus forests follow similar flammability pathways to native Australian forests, while answering important questions about the resilience of Australian resprouter forests, which are understudied.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Prof David Bowman


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 $28,854 per annum (2022 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.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Applicants from the following disciplines are encouraged to apply:

  • Ecology
  • Biological Sciences
  • Environmental Studies
  • Botany
  • Forest Sciences
  • Forest Fire Management

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
  • Basic to Intermediate verbal Spanish communication skills
  • Fieldwork experience or experience working in bushland environments
  • Ability to undertake experimental studies using a range of measurements and instruments
  • 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:

  • A track record of performing independent scientific research, including publications in peer-reviewed journals
  • A detailed understanding of eucalypt ecology
  • Experience organising field data-collection campaigns

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, Prof David Bowman to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. 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 by the advertised outcome date.

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