Two PhD positions: effects of heat stress in superb and purple-crowned fairy-wrens

Job Description: 

Two PhD scholarships to study effects of heat stress in fairy-wrens

In the Behavioural and Evolutionary Ecology of Birds Group ( @ Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, two PhD positions (start dates between Aug and Oct) are available to study how ambient temperatures affect physiology and behaviour of free-living fairy-wrens using a combination of existing and newly-collected data.

The research will focus on effects of high temperatures on metabolism, condition, heat stress, foraging behaviour, use of microsites and molecular aging. Additionally, the project will assess which individual attributes (age, sex, social status, morphology, genetic background) and environmental parameters (social group size, habitat) affect individual variation in response to increasing temperatures.

The research is funded through a Discovery Project grant of the Australian Research Council (DP18) to Assoc Prof Anne Peters.


PhD project I will focus on superb fairy-wrens, Malurus cyaneus, with field work taking place at Lysterfield Park, an open woodland near the university, where we study a large partly-colourbanded population. This project will focus on immediate responses by nestlings, delayed effects into adulthood, and include experimental approaches.

PhD project II will focus on purple-crowned fairy-wrens, Malurus coronatus with field work taking place at AWC Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary in the Kimberley, where the research group has been studying a fully colour-banded, known-age population since 2005. This project will focus on responses by adults, and how they deal with the very high temperatures this tropical endangered species experiences.


Monash University is a member of Australia's Group of Eight coalition, and is internationally recognized for excellence in research and teaching. The School of Biological Sciences is home to a collegial and interdisciplinary research environment, with strengths in ecology, genetics and evolutionary biology. The Monash doctoral program includes additional training opportunities beyond the research program that enhance employability post degree. The School offers funding and opportunities to post-docs.  Monash is located in Melbourne, one of the most liveable cities in the world and a cultural and recreational hub.

Requirements and further information
Applicants must have self-motivation, enthusiasm, a background in behavioural and evolutionary ecology, a passion for studying wild animals in their natural environment, a strong work ethic, experience with (tropical) fieldwork and/or bird handling and/or relevant quantitative skills, a full driver’s licence. 

Successful students will be offered a stipend (living-allowance) scholarship provided tax free for three years, with the possibility of a six-month extension. We also offer travel and establishment allowances to help in your move. Additionally, for international students, cost of tuition fees and compulsory Overseas Student Health Cover are covered. Research course fees for Australian or New Zealand citizens and Australian permanent residents are automatically covered under the Australian Research Training Scheme.

In order to be eligible, students must have four-year degree with relevant research experience, outstanding grades, and excellent English. Evidence of published research is a plus.

The application process takes place in two stages. Send your initial application to  Anne Peters (anne.peters[at], consisting of: a letter of motivation for one or both of the projects; a CV; overview of your academic results, and translation if required, preferably indicating cohort rank or percentiles; English test results if required; and the names and contact details of 3 academic references. After a review of all applications, you may be contacted for a skype or personal interview. If you are selected for a PhD position, you will be sent an invitation to submit a formal application through the Monash University web portal.

See for further details. Contact Anne (anne.peters[at] if you would like further information on the project or the application process. Deadline is 1 June 2018.

Job Location: 
Monash University
Closing Date: 
Saturday, June 30, 2018
Supporting Documentation: