The Ecosystem Restoration and Intervention Ecology research group (ERIE; at The University of Western Australia is seeking
applications from highly qualified and motivated candidates for a PhD program
investigating the restoration of habitats through the reintroduction of native digging
mammals. The successful student will work as part of a team within the ERIE group,
and in conjunction with government and non-government conservation agencies.
Mammals that dig for food or create burrows have the ability to alter their environment.
The digging actions of some mammals have been linked with altered soil properties,
microhabitat resources and seedling recruitment, with many digging mammals being
considered ecosystem engineers. In Australia, the majority of digging mammals have
suffered widespread declines and the loss of digging mammals has been linked with
deterioration in ecosystem function of landscapes. Where digging mammals have been
reintroduced into predator-proof sanctuaries, their foraging or burrowing activities are
associated with the restoration of ecosystem processes. The main aims of this project
are to i) further investigate the ecosystem engineering capabilities of Western
Australia’s threatened digging mammals; and, ii) to examine whether the reintroduction
of previously abundant digging mammals can assist in the restoration of landscape
The student will be supervised by IAS Distinguished Fellow Professor Richard Hobbs
and Dr Leonie Valentine at The University of Western Australia; and be part of the
National Environmental Science Programme’s Threatened Species Recovery Hub (NESP
– TSR).
This project is funded with a UWA PhD Scholarship (AUD$26,682 p.a.) and a NESP –
TSR top-up scholarship ($7,000 p.a.) tax free in fortnightly instalments for 3 years.
UWA provides funding for research activities ($2,500 p.a.) and students are
encouraged to seek additional research funds by applying for student grants.
The successful candidate will have a background in ecology and conservation biology
or environmental science and will be capable of collecting high-quality field data. We
are looking for a candidate who is enthusiastic and driven, wants to work as part of a
collaborative, interdisciplinary team, but with the ability to work independently when
required. Excellent academic results and existing publications are desirable, but not
essential. The following eligibility criteria apply to this scholarship:
The scholarship is open to Australian and International candidates.
Applicants must hold a Bachelors degree with honours or a research Masters
degree or be able to demonstrate relevant and substantial research experience in a
comparable field.
Applicants must be able to demonstrate knowledge of field research, including the
ability to independently plan and execute field-based research.
Demonstrated high level communication skills (written and oral) and analytical
skills are desirable.
How to apply
Interested individuals are invited to discuss the project with Dr Leonie Valentine
([email protected]) and Prof. Richard Hobbs ([email protected])
in the first instance, before the UWA closing date. Applicants are asked to submit a
CV, academic transcript and a short letter outlining their suitability for the project. The
candidate will be expected to commence the doctoral program in mid-late 2017
UWA Closing date: 31st May 2017; visit for more