Division of
Natural and Applied Sciences

PhD position in Eco-Evolutionary Biology in Australia 

University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, together with the University of British Columbia (Canada), the University of Arkansas (US), National Institute of Genetics (Japan), and MIT (US). 
 
How does rapid evolution affect ecological dynamics and stability in an era of global environmental change? Our international team of ecologists and evolutionary biologists based at prestigious universities in the USA, Canada, Japan, and Australia has multiple fully-funded (including both salary and research funds) PhD projects exploring how rapid evolution influences ecological dynamics and stability in an era of global environmental change.  
 
Understanding why population sizes of plants and animals rise and fall is a fundamental problem in ecology, and underpins our ability to predict environmental impacts, and to manage threatened, harvested and pest species. Dominant explanations for the rise and fall of species have focused on environmental variation and species interactions but have typically excluded the ability of species to rapidly evolve or change plastically in response to changing conditions. This project will combine theory, lab and field experiments, molecular tools, and statistical analyses, to understand when and how rapid evolution affects the dynamics of plants and animals in an era of global environmental change.  

 
The project will focus on species in subtropical freshwater ecosystems in Southeast Queensland, Australia. These systems provide wonderfully challenging opportunities for combining theory, observations, and experiments to discover how nature works. And importantly, freshwater ecosystems are, per unit area, the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet, yet they remain underexplored, underappreciated, and under threat. 
 
Successful candidates will join a young team of ecologists and evolutionary biologists to work on a funded Australian Research Council Discovery Project How does rapid evolution affect the dynamics and stability of ecological communities? The student will be based in the School of the Environment at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. They will be supervised by Dr Simon Hart, and formally co-advised by Assoc. Prof. Serguei Saavedra (MIT), Assist. Prof Rachel Germain (University of British Columbia), and Assoc. Prof. Masato Yamamichi (National Institute of Genetics, Japan). Successful candidates will have opportunities for international travel.   
 
As a scholarship recipient, you will receive a living stipend of $32,192AUD per annum tax free (2023 rate), indexed annually. In addition, tuition fees are covered, and you will receive Overseas Student Health Cover if you are an international (non-Australian) student. 
 
We are looking for curious and creative students who can demonstrate a strong motivation to understand ecological and evolutionary dynamics, and who have a strong quantitative focus and a desire to work in a supportive and engaging team environment. We are particularly interested in candidates with one or more of the following attributes, each of which is desirable but not necessarily essential: 
a) a background in ecology and/or evolutionary biology, 
b) strong statistical, mathematical and/or computational skills, 
c) experience with laboratory and field experimental/sampling designs, 
d) practical experience with molecular genetics, 
e) experience working in freshwater ecosystems, 
f) strong written and verbal communication skills.  
 
We value a diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environment. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for these positions, without regard to race, colour, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, origin, genetics, disability, or age. 
 
Applicants should submit a cover letter detailing their experience and research interests, with particular reference to the desirable attributes. The cover letter, together with a copy of your CV, University academic transcripts, and the names of three referees should be sent to Dr Simon Hart s.hart@uq.edu.au. Applications will be accepted and considered immediately. The PhD project will ideally commence no later than half-way through 2024.  
 
Please contact Dr Simon Hart if you are at all interested: s.hart@uq.edu.au. I dont bite, and I am very happy to talk with you if you would like more information about the opportunity, and your eligibility or suitability for the role.