The Persistence and Adaptation Research Team at Monash University are seeking PhD candidates for three projects

Opportunity Type:

Closing Date: 
Friday, March 31, 2017

Eastern Yellow Robin Project
We are looking for an outstanding student to fill a PhD position available on the project “Climate adaptation and speciation by mitonuclear interactions”, working with Paul Sunnucks and the PART team.

The project focuses on various aspects of biology, physiology and genomics of the eastern yellow robin, a common and widespread passerine bird native to eastern Australia. Eastern yellow robin has two divergent mitochondrial DNA lineages despite gene flow at the majority of nuclear genome. The project aims to reveal whether co-evolution between the mitochondrial genome and partner genes in its nuclear genome is causing the species to split eastern yellow robins into two forms adapted to inland and coastal thermal environments.

Helmeted Honeyeater project
A PhD position is available on the project “Genetic Rescue of Australian wildlife”, working with Paul Sunnucks and the PART team. Genetic rescue is a powerful yet under-utilized approach to bolstering the fitness and evolutionary potential of populations of conservation concern.

Under the umbrella of an ARC Linkage project for 2017-20, three universities (Monash, La Trobe and Canberra) have teamed up with nationwide partners with a wide range of skills and responsibilities for wildlife, including Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), Diversity Arrays Technology, Zoos Victoria, Environment and Planning Directorate (ACT Government), Department of Parks and Wildlife (WA) and CSIRO.

The PhD candidates will work in a multidisciplinary team investigating the genetic rescue of the Helmeted honeyeater, a critically endangered Australian bird. The projects will involve field and laboratory work, wildlife biology, genomic analysis and conservation planning.  The candidates will conduct excellent science publishable in top journals while engaging with hands-on conservation actions with leading institutions. There will be opportunity to develop independent questions within the major goals of the program - to conduct and monitor experimental genetic rescue and develop protocols for it within a framework of long-term species management. The project is expected to yield improved potential of threatened populations to persist and adapt to changing environments, and will provide novel insights into how genetic rescue works in populations and the genomes of individuals.

Genetic rescue Rutiodosis project
A PhD position is available on the project “Genetic decline and rescue in an endangered plant” in Dr John Morgan’s lab at La Trobe University, in collaboration with Dr Steve Sinclair (Arthur Rylah Institute), Prof Andrew Young (CSIRO) and Dr Paul Sunnucks (Monash University). Rutidosis leptorrhynchoides (a daisy) has helped reveal the importance of genetic self-incompatibility and ploidy variation in plants. Despite this, wild Rutidosis is in serious decline. Genetic rescue is a powerful yet under-utilized approach to bolstering the fitness and evolutionary potential of populations of conservation concern. The PhD candidate will investigate the genetic decline and rescue of Rutidosis, using wild plants and experimental plants with controlled genetic heritage. Replicated experimental populations in the wild and the glasshouse will be used to examine the consequences of different genetic rescue strategies on ecological fitness and genomic structure.

For more information of each of these projects, including eligibility and application instructions, please see