The development of a biological control health management strategy to prevent white leg disease (WLD) in the tropical rock lobster (TRL) Panulirus ornatus

Degree type


Closing date

20 August 2022



Citizenship requirement



$28,854pa for 3.5 years

About the research project

Despite relatively few diseases having been reported in the culture of tropical rock lobster (TRL) one colloquially termed white leg disease (WLD) has emerged as a recurring and potentially devastating health problem often resulting in significant losses of larval TRL. Research at IMAS has identified the aetiological agent of WLD as Aquimarina sp. TRL1 while health strategies to mitigate the threat posed by WLD are yet to be developed.Biosecurity is an essential aspect of this emerging aquaculture industry. To ensure the sustainability of lobster aquaculture the use of living organisms or natural substances that prevent or reduce damage caused by harmful organisms otherwise known as biological control or biocontrol is preferred to traditional antibiotic treatment and potentially hazardous chemicals. Bacteriophages are viruses that only infect bacteria and are one of the most promising biocontrol agents. Predatory bacteria such as Bdellovibrio and like organisms (BALOs) are Gram-negative, obligate predators of other Gram-negative bacteria and like phages are potential biocontrol agents.  Research into biocontrol to treat and or prevent WLD will form the basis of a PhD project and focus on the use of bacteriophages, and predatory bacteria (BALOs) as a health management strategy to prevent WLD.

Primary Supervisor

Meet A/Prof Andrew Bridle


The successful applicant will receive a scholarship which 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)

International applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.


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.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • 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

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Research experience or undergraduate training in aquaculture, physiology, nutrition, aquatic health 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

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 Andrew Bridle 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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