Why do scallop beds boom-and-bust?

Characterising the impacts of warm water and other stressors on the boom-and bust cycle of the Commercial Scallop

Degree type


Closing date

25 September 2023



Citizenship requirement

Domestic / International

About the research project

This application was developed to respond to recurring mass die-offs of scallop beds that have undermined open seasons in the scallop fishery with increasing frequency. While the boom-and-bust scallop fishery has had die-offs in the past, changing environmental conditions appear to be exacerbating die-offs, with different segments of the fishery showing particularly severe impacts. Initially intended to be a smaller scale study driven primarily by a PhD student, the scope of this project has been expanded following the recent die-off reported at White Rock, as a range of potential factors affecting scallops and management of the fishery have been raised through extensive consultation with scallop fishery stakeholders, including fishermen, NRE, and TSIC, AFMA and VFA managers have also been made aware of this project and the industry support for it, as it is applicable to all three jurisdictions. The outcomes of this project will facilitate the design, in collaboration with industry stakeholders, of decision frameworks and monitoring systems for the sustainable management of commercial scallop fisheries in the face of the likely increasing risk of die-offs, including designing regional-specific approaches to optimising fishing opportunity and maximising continuity of stock, while mitigating the risk of die-offs.

This PhD project will be associated with an FRDC funded project looking at acute causes of scallop bed die-offs. To compliment that research, this PhD project will look at longer term impacts of environmental stressors associated with the changing marine climate, such as water temperature, nutrient availability and changes to the reproductive cycle.  Experiments will be conducted on juvenile and adult scallops collected from the wild in a set of replicated, temperature controlled aquaria allowing for conditions to be manipulated for factorial experiments.  Identifying the  longer term impacts of stressors will provide crucial information as to the future of impacted scallop beds, such as those along Tasmania's east coast.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Ryan Day


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 $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 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:

  • Willingness to conduct fieldwork, potentially at sea for short periods
  • Must have or be willing to obtain a driver's license

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Experience with laboratory and field work would be beneficial

Application process

  1. Select your project, and check that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria, including citizenship;
  2. Contact Dr Ryan Day 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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