Photo: Richard Wylie

PhD top-up scholarship – Fire, termites and tree hollows: is there a trade-off between habitat condition and carbon storage in tropical savannas? CSIRO, Darwin

Closes: 31 October 2020

Tree hollows form important faunal habitat and contribute to uncertainty in carbon accounting. The extensive savanna ecosystems of northern Australia have a high density of tree hollows resulting from termite piping and high fire frequencies. This project will unravel the ecological feedbacks between fire management, termite activity, and the abundance of hollow bearing trees in tropical savannas, and link these attributes to remotely sensed variables, improving our ability to measure habitat condition and carbon storage across these vast landscapes. The project provides an opportunity to gain experience in working with specialised hollow detection equipment and undertaking terrestrial laser scanning in remote field locations. In addition, the successful candidate will have the opportunity to gain skills in the processing and analysis of different remotely sensed data, including LiDAR point cloud data, for interpretation of ecological relationships at landscape-scales.

CSIRO’s Postgraduate Top-Up Scholarship Program provides enhanced opportunities in science and engineering for outstanding graduates enrolling each year at Australian tertiary institutions as postgraduates for research leading to the award of a PhD. The PhD top-up scholarship will provide $7,000 per annum, in addition to a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship, plus a generous operating budget of $10,000 per annum. This advertised position will be based at the CSIRO Darwin site, within the Ecosystem Dynamics team, and co-supervised by Dr Brett Murphy (Charles Darwin University). It is expected that the successful candidate will obtain an RTP scholarship from Charles Darwin University in order to take up the position.

For further details and to submit an application please go to:, Research Project No: “Land & Water 2”

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