PhD: Conserving Koalas in a Complex Landscape


Deakin University



Expressions of interest are invited for a PhD position in the Centre for Integrative Ecology at Deakin University, to undertake a project on the ecology of koalas in South Gippsland, Victoria. The project is funded by Hancock Victoria Plantations (HVP).

The South Gippsland koala population is of high conservation significance due to its genetic uniqueness. However, little is known about this population to inform its conservation. The population occurs in a region where habitat is highly fragmented, and where establishment and harvest of forestry plantations result in a spatially and temporally dynamic landscape. This project aims to improve our understanding of this important koala population.

Specific objectives are:

  • To determine the geographical extent of the South Gippsland koala population and patterns of gene flow/connectivity in the landscape;
  • To understand koala behaviour and use of different habitat types including pine plantations that may provide important shade, cover, or links between native vegetation;
  • To determine the impacts of forestry operations on koala health and movements.

This is an applied, multidisciplinary project combining studies of spatial ecology, conservation genetics, and wildlife health. The PhD student will have considerable input into study design.

We are seeking candidates with interests in terrestrial wildlife ecology and conservation genetics, and experience in undertaking ecological field research.

Applicants should have achieved an excellent grade (e.g., H1 or HD) in an Honours or a MSc research program and have proven skills in scientific writing. The PhD candidate will be supervised by Dr Desley Whisson and Dr Adam Miller. The position is based at Deakin's Melbourne (Burwood) Campus but will involve considerable field work in South Gippsland. The successful candidate will be offered a 3-year PhD scholarship with potential for a 6-month extension, and an operating budget. 


How to apply:

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Closing date:

open until filled