Marine predators of SW Tasmania

Understanding the role of rare and endemic marine predators in the SW Tasmanian upwelling region

Degree type


Closing date

27 March 2023



Citizenship requirement



$31,500pa for 3.5 years

About the research project

The pelagic system in Southwestern Tasmania and within the Tasman Fracture Marine Park is influenced by upwelling of cool Southern Ocean water leading to elevated productivity. Climate change and the increasing intensity and incidence of marine heatwaves are altering Tasmanian marine ecosystems, and we may expect the cooler waters in SW Tasmania to become increasingly important to mobile marine species in the future.  The region is home to an array of migratory, endemic, culturally significant, and rare seabirds and marine mammals and their interactions with this upwelling system and marine connectivity more broadly are poorly understood.  Terrestrially breeding species of particular interest include shy albatross, short-tailed shearwaters, long-nosed and Australian fur seals. The endemic and threatened shy albatross has only three breeding sites in Tasmania and two of which are located in this southwestern region. Long-nosed and Australian fur seal distribution and abundance is shifting within the region and the need to understand their changing dynamics, behaviour, diet and habitat use, more pressing. The cultural significance of this region underpins the project which is supported by the Our Parks 3 grants ‘Discovering the role of rare, endangered and culturally important marine predators in the Tasman Fracture Marine Park’ and the successful candidate will have the opportunity to join a large multi-disciplinary team researching this system.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Prof Mary-Anne Lea


The successful applicant will receive a scholarship which provides:

  • a living allowance stipend co-funded by Parks Australia 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.


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

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applications are open to Domestic/ International/ Onshore applicants
  • Applications are open to applications from life sciences discipline background only
  • English language score must be above minimum entry requirements for this project
  • 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:

  • A first-class Honours or Masters degree
  • Proficiency in statistical analysis
  • Experience in the use of R, database and other scientific software

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Skills and experience in handling endangered seabirds and large marine mammals
  • A knowledge of Tasmanian/Australian marine systems
  • Experience in remote and marine fieldwork

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 Mary-Anne Lea 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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