Photo: Kristian Bell
Student

Ecology Fieldwork Student/Volunteer Opportunities, April – December 2021 (partial costs covered)

Deadline: January 10th 2021 (but earlier enquiries very welcome)

The Positions

The Forest Restoration and Climate Experiment (FoRCE) is looking for students or volunteers interested in conducting research (or gaining fieldwork experience) using permanent rainforest vegetation plots in Queensland, Australia. We are seeking two or more field assistants to work with our existing field team for all or part of the period from April to December 2021, helping to establish and remeasure plots, and to gather data that will answer globally significant research questions.

The fieldwork will be challenging but will take place across some of the most scenic coastline in Australia, mostly in the Wet Tropics Region. Plots will be established, mostly in heavily disturbed forest, to compare liana-tree competition with nearby primary forest and with other plots established under different climates. Lianas are woody vines, with growing research interest because some species are harming forest recovery and carbon sequestration on a global scale. The team will mark out plot boundaries, measure and mark tree and liana stems, and carry out botanical identification. Students wishing to collect additional data as part of their own studies will also be welcome to do so. For example, ongoing honours and masters student work is assessing the effect of liana-tree competition on soil detritivores as an indicator of healthy forest function.

We will cover costs for all equipment and travel (or partial costs for international/long-distance students). We may also be able to assist with partial living expenses / university fees if required and/or partial costs for mandatory quarantine for those living outside of Australia. We cannot cover visa costs.

About FoRCE

FoRCE is a pantropical experiment funded by the Australian Research Council. The experiment aims to measure and understand the long-term dynamics of tropical forest recovery from major human disturbance, and interactions with climate, topography and experimental management. We are using a combination of permanent sampling plots, hemispherical photographs, experimental vine removal, seed germination, tree planting and remote sensing.

Why?

We are aiming to understand (a) fundamental information about biomass and species community changes during forest succession, and (b) how management of vines and other weeds affects these changes and promotes more rapid recovery from severe degradation by logging or cyclones.

How?

We are driven by two fundamental questions: (A) How do forest structure, forest functioning and associated species communities change during forest succession, (B) How can management of forests for vines and weeds promote rapid forest recovery following disturbance. We are measuring tree, liana, palm and strangler density, growth and structure in 0.04ha (sapling) and 0.4ha (large stem) sample plots, stratified across climate and disturbance gradients. We are upscaling these data to the landscape scale using satellite sensor data.

Enquiries: amarsha1@usc.edu.au (please send e-mail enquiries, explaining why the work would be useful, any available finances, and attaching a cv with two referees – the only requirement is that the applicant is capable of conducting fieldwork in humid, tropical conditions – a relevant degree would also be helpful)

Twitter: @FoRCEexperiment   Website: www.force-experiment.com   

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