Photo: Kristian Bell

PhD opportunity: Understanding Population Connectivity and Demographic Expansion of Introduced Chital Deer

Opportunity Type:
Student Opportunity
Closing Date:
Wednesday, September 30, 2020

In Australia, introduced deer species present a major threat to agriculture and the environment through competition for forage, as vectors of disease, damage to crops, modification of vegetation structure and composition, dispersal of weeds, and as a road hazard.

Given that several Australian deer populations are currently expanding in abundance and geographic range, it is imperative that scientists understand how, when, and why these expansions occur.

The project

This ARC funded project proposes to use population genomics to determine current patterns of population connectivity, investigate historical patterns of population expansion, and understand how landscape and environmental variables influence gene flow.

This PhD project will employ the latest genomic and bioinformatics techniques in order to investigate connectivity, demography, and adaptation in Chital deer in North Queensland, Australia. Opportunities for field work will be available.

The student will be based in the College of Science and Engineering at James Cook University, Townsville, Australia (under the supervision of Assoc Prof Jan Strugnell, Dr Ben Hirsch, and Prof Lin Schwarzkopf) and supported by an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant.

The student will work closely with stakeholders from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (Queensland) and the Department of Primary Industry and Resources (NSW).


Applicants must be competitive for an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA). Domestic applicants should have a First Class Honours (or equivalent) in biological science or a related field, while international applicants should have a Masters by Research.

Preference will be given to those applicants with previous experience in genetics and/or evidence of strong technical and laboratory skills. Journal publications in these fields are desirable but not essential. Students must apply by July 31, 2020 to commence early 2021.

Please note that an opportunity also exists to commence the PhD project in 2020 for domestic students or international students currently residing in Australia. In this instance please apply by 30 June, 2020.

Funding: $28,092 p.a. for 3.5 years (tax exempt), comprising an APA stipend (2020 rate). Field and laboratory expenses will be supported by the broader project.

How to apply:

Applicants will need to apply for a JCU competitive Research Scholarship and should be familiar with the Higher Degree by Research Requirements – see:

Interested applicants should send their

academic transcript, and
a short (~1 page max) letter outlining their suitability and interest in the project

to Dr Ben Hirsch,, Assoc Prof Jan Strugnell, and Prof Lin Schwarkzopf,