Mammal browsing solutions

Quantifying risks and the scale of the mammal browsing problem to inform technological solutions

Degree type

PhD

Closing date

31 March 2022

Campus

Hobart

Citizenship requirement

Domestic/International

About the research project

Browsing by mammalian herbivores (e. g. wallabies, possums, deer) is a significant issue for growing trees. Browsing monitoring and management incur significant costs and there are significant knowledge gaps in i) understanding the risk of sites to browsing and ii) developing effective tools for monitoring and deterrence. This project aims to test innovative solutions in both areas.

This PhD project has two components.

  1. Extensive risk assessment analysis based on long-term field data. We will access long-term operational field mammal browsing data collected throughout Australia and develop predictive models of browsing risk against tree, site and large-scale environmental variables.
  2. Testing of a detection and long range, low power (LoRA) network for mammal assessments. To detect mammal browsing this project will take advantage of the long range, low power (LoRA) network in Tasmanian native regeneration forest and other detection technologies to assess the scale of the mammal browsing issue in native regeneration and plantations, and compare the results with those from current labour-intensive manual assessment methods.

Outcomes for this project will reduce costs for on-ground mammal browsing monitoring and control, providing more cost-effective and socially acceptable management strategies while reducing OH&S risk.

Research Environment

Candidates will work in the ARC Training Centre for Forest Value within the Discipline of Biological Sciences at the University of Tasmania. The Centre for Forest Value is a research centre focused on forests and forest industries research, working across native, restored and plantation forests and across the full forest industries supply chain. Students in the Centre for Forest Value work closely with external stakeholders including industry partners and not-for-profit organisations to conduct collaborative research with real-world impact. Biological Sciences provides a stimulating academic environment, conducting world class research and teaching and learning in Plant Biology, Zoology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology – all areas that scored the highest rating in the most recent Excellence in Research for Australia submission – Australia’s national research evaluation framework. Biological Sciences has a vibrant and fun postgraduate community with events organised by the Postgraduate Society for Biological Sciences to connect individuals and research groups within the Discipline.

This project is funded by the University of Tasmania in collaboration with the Growers Research Advisory Committee of Forest and Wood Products Australia and will have strong links with industry collaborators. Candidates will be expected to spend a proportion of their candidature working closely with industry.

Primary Supervisor

Meet A/Prof Julianne O’Reilly-Wapstra

Funding

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.

Eligibility

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.

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 Julianne O’Reilly-Wapstra 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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