PhD scholarships (x5): ARC Training Centre for Forest Value


University of Tasmania



Successful applicants will receive scholarships which provide:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,597 per annum (2021 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years;
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000;
  • $10,000 per annum support for project costs for 3 years; and
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to 4 years (domestic applicants only)
  • International applicants may receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

Available projects are:

  1. Quantifying the risks and scale of mammal browsing in managed forests to inform technological solutions

Browsing by mammalian herbivores (eg. wallabies, possums, deer) is a significant issue for growing trees. Browsing monitoring and management incur significant costs and there are significant knowledge gaps in understanding the risk of sites to browsing and developing effective tools for monitoring and deterrence. This project aims to test innovative solutions in both areas.

Primary Supervisor: Associate Professor Julianne O’Reilly-Wapstra.

  1. Maximising and maintaining productivity of managed forests

The Australian hardwood plantation estate is a critical part of Australia’s wood supply for both fibre and increasingly for solid wood products. To maximise the potential of this resource there is a need to determine the drivers of site productivity to maximise tree production and to understand optimal site management practices that maintain site productivity. This project will address these two knowledge gaps by bringing together research on above- and below-ground tree processes with site management practices.

Primary Supervisor: Professor Mark Hovenden.

  1. Identification of elite eucalypt genetic material and molecular markers for contemporary and future risk traits

Ensuring a future forest estate under changing climates is essential and vulnerability assessments indicate that climate change may have large consequences for sections of the future industry. There are opportunities to complement tools in the breeding of material to minimise threats.

This project aims to understand the genomic architecture of quantitative traits in E. nitens. The project will focus on traits affecting resistance to drought, heat, diseases, and pests - stressors that are expected to increasingly impact forests under climate change. Novel approaches to large-scale phenotyping will be explored, including stress indicators and other traits derived from hand-held and drone-based sensors, through collaboration with concurrent projects.

Primary Supervisor: Professor René Vaillancourt

  1. Exploration of models and systems for the inclusion of novel traits into eucalypt breeding

Ensuring a productive future forest estate under changing climates is essential and vulnerability assessments indicate that climate change may have large consequences for sections of the future industry. Tree breeding maybe part of the solution to this challenge for the forest industry and we now need to provide the systems and strategies for inclusion of novel traits, including risk traits, into the current genetic evaluation systems used for tree breeding.

This project will focus on the system used for genetic evaluation of Australia’ major plantation eucalypt - Eucalyptus globulus. The project will involve both simulation studies and genetic studies of the phenotypic data on reproductive and risk traits accrued from field trials by the breeding programs. The genetic studies will involve the integration of genomic and pedigree data.

Primary Supervisor: Professor René Vaillancourt.

  1. Biotic agents and silvicultural practices: combined approaches to maximise tree survival in managed forests

There is a need to document the drivers of poor survival of plantation trees, both in the early stages of planting and after trees have become established and suffer subsequent death. More specifically there are significant gaps in our understanding of how above- and below-ground processes interact to affect tree survival. The results of this project will improve site management protocols to maximise tree survival in hardwood plantations.

Primary Supervisor: Professor Mark Hovenden.

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded. Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

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