Our research focuses on the population dynamics of plants and how they are influenced by impacts of natural disturbances and global environmental change. We are particularly interested in the interactive effects of fire, grazing and drought in grasslands and woodlands in southern Australia, and how climate change, fragmentation and shrub encroachment affect ecosystems.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

PhD Opportunity!

Genetic Rescue of an endangered grassland daisy

Field, glasshouse and laboratory work

Supervisors: Dr John Morgan (La Trobe University) & Dr Steve Sinclair (Arthur Rylah Institute)

The project
The Button Wrinklewort daisy Rutidosis leptorrhynchoides has helped reveal the importance of genetic self-incompatability and ploidy variation for plant conservation. Despite this contribution to science, Rutidosis is in serious decline in the wild, and is listed as Endangered. 

The PhD candidate will work in a multidisciplinary team investigating the genetic rescue of Rutidosis.  The project will involve the production of plants with known genetic heritage, from glasshouse crosses, using a range of wild populations. The offspring will form the basis for replicated experimental populations in the wild and the glasshouse. Their fitness and genomic structure will be tracked over several years. The candidate will have opportunity to develop independent questions. The project is expected to yield new populations of this endangered species, as well as new insights into the way that genetic rescue acts in populations and at the DNA-level.

The team
The project forms part of a larger ARC Linkage Project on multiple plant and animal species - “Genetic rescue of Australian Wildlife” - led by Prof Paul Sunnucks at Monash University, and involves nationwide partners with a wide range of skills and responsibilities for wildlife, including the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (VIC), Diversity Arrays Technology, Zoos Victoria, Environment and Planning Directorate (ACT), the Department of Parks and Wildlife (WA), University of Canberra, and Andew Young (CSIRO).

Eligibility & application
The candidate will have a Masters or 1st class Honours degree in a relevant field,  enthusiasm for conservation biology, and a good work ethic.  The successful candidate must secure an LTU PhD stipend scholarship. Applications for scholarship close 31 October 2016, but candidates need to submit a CV no later than Friday 23 September 2016.  Up to $15,000 is available (over 3 yrs) to cover the costs associated with the field data collection and glasshouse work. $2500 per annum is available to support travel to conferences. The successful candidate will commence the project in early 2017.

To apply, please first discuss the project with Dr John Morgan (E: J.Morgan@latrobe.edu.au, T: (03) 9479 2226)

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