Genetic control of trait adaptation

Genetic control of drought and heat tolerance in Australian native species

Degree type


Closing date

25 September 2023



Citizenship requirement

Domestic / International


$31,500pa for 3.5 years

About the research project

Many Australian species have colonised and adapted to multiple contrasting environments. Adaptation to these environments likely results from genetic changes that confer drought and temperature tolerance. How these adaptations originate and are maintained are largely unknown. Investigations into ecophysiological adaptations to heat and drought in select species identifies a framework of key adaptive traits across climatically diverse environments. We have identified contrasting ecotypes for selected species with different levels of drought and heat tolerance which will enable us to identify genes underpinning these important traits.  Understanding the genetic basis of these adaptive traits is critical for future efforts to improve plant success in natural and agricultural systems in a changing climate.

This project aims to investigate the genetic basis for diverse responses to these environmental stresses in selected model species (eg eucalyptus, kangaroo grass or groundsel).  We will use functional genomics and molecular approaches in lab-based experimental systems to characterise genes involved in heat and drought tolerance. The project involves collaboration with other members of the Centre of Excellence for Plant Success in Nature and Agriculture with expertise in complementary areas such as ecophysiology and population genetics. Students will be welcomed into the Centre of Excellence for Plant Success where they will have chance to interact closely with leading scientists including those at other Australian universities and internationally. It will open the door to future research opportunities in the Centre and beyond.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Jazmine Humphreys


The successful applicant will receive a scholarship which provides:

  • a living allowance stipend co-funded with ARC of $31,500 per annum (2023 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.

Other funding opportunities and fees

For further information regarding other scholarships on offer, and the various fees of undertaking a research degree, please visit our Scholarships and fees on research degrees page.


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

Ensure your eligibility for the scholarship round by referring to our Key Dates.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applicants must already have been awarded a first-class Honours degree or hold equivalent qualifications or relevant and substantial research experience in an appropriate sector
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate strong research and analytical skills
  • Applicants from the following disciplines are eligible to apply:
    - Transcriptomics and genomics
    - Genetics
    - Molecular biology
  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus

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 the fields of molecular biology, bioinformatics/genomics, plant physiology and/or genetics
  • Excellent written and verbal scientific communication skills
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a research team
  • Quality of academic record

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Experience analysing next generation sequencing data

Application process

  1. Select your project, and check that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria, including citizenship;
  2. Contact Dr Jazmine Humphreys to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. In your application:
    • 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.
    • Submit a signed supervisory support form, a CV including contact details of 2 referees and your project research proposal.
  4. Apply prior to 25 September 2023.

Full details of the application process can be found under the 'How to apply' section of the Research Degrees website.

Following the 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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