PhD: Deer Movement and Genetics in the Australian Alps


University of Sydney


University of Sydney (lab) and Kosciuszko National Park (field work)

Salary etc:

Stipend options up to $45K/year tax free

Deer movement and genetics in the Australian Alps

In collaboration with the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Deer Project team we are seeking a PhD student to undertake the above project in Kosciuszko National Park (KNP) and adjacent privately managed lands.


Deer are considered pests in NSW and The Environmental Trust has granted NPWS $9.2 million over 8 years to develop a cross tenure feral deer management plan, including the development of a cost-effective ‘toolkit’ for application across other areas of NSW. A key component of the project involves tracking the movements and population genetics of deer, as a complementary element to ongoing deer monitoring and pest control trials.

The deer movement and genetics work will include:

  • GPS collaring of sambar and fallow deer,
  • Collection of deer DNA and analysis of population structure (primarily sambar and fallow),
  • Collection of longitudinal deer behaviour knowledge from public and private land managers,
  • Collection of on-going observational data using qualitative and quantitative survey techniques.

This work will contribute the main elements of the PhD, which will answer the following:

To what extent can understanding the movements and behaviour of deer be integrated into pest management?

What are the implications for deer management across NSW and nationally?

How can behavioural responses of deer to intensive pest control influence pest management design and effort?

What is the local population structure and degree of interrelatedness of deer populations?

To what extent is there a local / external (inter or intra- district) population component? Can this knowledge be used to better focus management efforts?

Are there invasive source populations of deer affecting pest control efforts? Are there barrier or conduits to deer movement through the landscape?

Benefits of the PhD project

Significant in-kind project support via the Environmental Trust and NPWS Deer Project Team, including assistance in field work, equipment (aerial netting gear, GPS units, sampling kits, etc) and other key project costs.

The student will be based at The University of Sydney in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences within the Global Ecology Lab supervised by Dr. Thomas Newsome and Dr. Catherine Grueber.

Australian candidates must be competitive to receive stipend support under the Research Training Program (RTP). A variety of scholarships are available for international students.

The current RTP stipend rate at The University of Sydney is $35k tax free per annum. A top up scholarship of up to $10k per annum will be provided to a candidate who successfully receives an RTP stipend. If the selected candidate does not receive RTP support, we will consider funding a full scholarship at the rate of $40k per annum.

How to apply:

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Date published:


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