As part of a new Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage project investigating the resilience of freshwater fish in northern Australia to environmental change, the University of Western Australia (UWA) and Charles Darwin University (CDU) are offering two PhD stipend top-ups ($10,000 per year, plus operating funds).
Northern Australian rivers are among the most pristine and productive on earth, however, they face profound change due to human activity. Previous research and monitoring of fish in these rivers has demonstrated the diversity of habitat preferences and annual population variability, but little is known about their key life history and ecological requirements. This makes it difficult to confidently assess and manage for the risks that flow and habitat modification and climate change will pose to fish populations and fisheries in the future. Emerging evidence suggests that flexibility in functional traits (e.g. life history, physiology, behaviour, diet) may result in resilience to environmental change.
We are seeking candidates for two PhD projects as part of an ARC Linkage project “Forecasting fish resilience to environmental change in northern Australia”. The project is a partnership between the Northern Territory Government and four Universities: CDU, UWA, Griffith University and the University of Washington (USA).
1. Fish Recruitment Ecology (offered at CDU). The aim of this research will be to investigate the influence of flow on the habitat use, growth and movement of the early life stages of freshwater fish in tropical river systems. [Lead Supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Alison King (CDU)].
2. Trophic Ecology of Fish (offered at UWA). The aim of this project is to examine the influence of flow regime on intraspecific and interspecific variability in the diets of freshwater fish in tropical river systems. [Lead Supervisor: Prof. Michael Douglas (UWA)].
Flexibility exists for expanding on and developing new research areas in this general theme.