Fully-funded PhD Scholarship: How will changing detrital resources influence marine biodiversity and ecosystem function?

scu91newGlobal losses of seagrasses and mangroves, eutrophication-driven increases in ephemeral algae, and macrophyte invasions have impacted marine detrital resources. This has important implications for marine ecosystems because detritus drives benthic production, as well as sustains food webs encompassing economically-important fisheries, threatened shore birds, and marine mammals. Detrital deposition also modifies the chemical and physical conditions of marine sediments, leading to changes in nitrogen and phosphorus cycling including the significant release of inorganic nutrients. This project will evaluate the consequences of changing detrital resources on benthic biodiversity, production, nutrient cycling, and denitrification. The project will involve a multi-disciplinary approach with ecological manipulative experiments, stable isotope tracer experiments, and cutting edge biogeochemical process measurements.

The project will be undertaken in the Centre for Coastal Biogeochemistry (www.scu.edu.au/coastal-biogeochemistry) at Southern Cross University (SCU), which received the highest rank of 5.0, well above world average, in geochemistry in the most recent assessment of research excellence by the Australian government. The project will be supervised by Dr Brendan Kelaher, Professor Bradley Eyre and Dr Joanne Oakes. The successful applicant will be based at the SCU National Marine Science Centre at Coffs Harbour (http://www.scu.edu.au/schools/esm/index.php/33); a sub-tropical area with pristine surfing beaches, rainforests and extensive marine reserves.

The position is open to national and international applicants. The successful candidate will need to have an Honours or Master degree in marine ecology, biogeochemistry, or a closely related field. The project will involve boat work and extended periods in the field, sometimes in remote areas. The PhD scholarship will provide a tax free stipend of $24,653 pa (AUD) and tuition fees will be waived.

Interested applicants should submit an electronic copy of their CV to Dr Brendan Kelaher – ( scu13111@earthworks-jobs.com) highlighting their research background. Only short-listed applicants will be notified. The closing date for applications is November 24th, 2013 but may be extended if the position is not filled. Starting date is flexible.