PhD student – marine communities

We are seeking a highly motivated PhD student to join a research project recently funded by the Australian Research Council.

This is an exciting opportunity to join a cross-continental and interdisciplinary team of researchers from eastern and Western Australia to understand the mechanisms that shape marine communities across tropical-temperate transition zones, from coral-dominated to kelp-dominated systems. The project leaders are:

University of New South Wales Dr Adriana Vergés & Prof Peter Steinberg

University of Western Australia A/Prof Thomas Wernberg

THE APPLICANT: You’d need to have a keen interest in marine conservation, the ecological impacts of climate change and experimental marine ecology. SCUBA and advanced underwater fieldwork skills including SCUBA diving are needed. Boating experience is desirable but not essential.

Start date: August 2017. Please see scholarships opportunities detailed below.

PROJECT SYNOPSIS: Ocean warming is causing the collapse of highly valuable temperate kelp forests globally and on both sides of Australia, but we do not know if this is because of direct physiological effects of temperature, or because of indirect effects arising from changes in species interactions. In this project the direct impacts of marine heatwaves will be compared to the indirect effects of range-shifting tropical herbivores and pathogens for one of Australia’s largest coastal ecosystems: kelp forests of the Great Southern Reef. Through an innovative combination of continental-scale field experiments and environmental microbiology this project aims to enhance our capacity to respond to ongoing degradation of these valuable natural assets.


Students are expected to apply for an Australian Postgraduate Award through either UNSW or UWA. Deadline for commencing in S2 2017: TBC (likely March 2017)


UNSW and UWA offer highly competitive International Postgraduate Research Awards. Please note the following minimum requirements to apply:

– BSc equivalent to 1st Class Honours

– One or two publications in ISI scientific journals (at least one first-authored)

– Work experience in marine ecology

UNSW deadline for international students commencing in S2 2017: 3 February 2017

Interested students please email Dr Adriana Vergés ( and Associate Professor Thomas Wernberg ( including a copy of your CV and a copy of your academic transcript.

Dr Adriana Vergés
Senior Lecturer in Marine Ecology
Centre for Marine Bio-Innovation
Evolution & Ecology Research Centre
School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of New South Wales
Sydney, 2052

Phone: +61 2 9385 2110


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