Division of
Natural and Applied Sciences

PhD projects to study mycorrhizal fungal ecology in Australia 

The biogeography of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi in Australia is not well understood, despite that the characteristics of Australian landscapes can offer new insights into their ecology and evolution.  
Scholarships are now available from Western Sydney University for a PhD student to work on this project as we look to explore the diversity and composition of AM fungi across the diverse Australian continent.  

Your work will primarily focus on employing molecular approaches, coupled with statistical analysis, to decode the distribution and diversity of AM fungi. The project aims to bridge a significant knowledge gap in our understanding of AM fungi’s biogeography across the multifaceted Australian terrains. The implications of your research could extend to various domains, including ecology, conservation, and sustainable agriculture. 
Main responsibilities include: 
1. Collecting and processing field samples from diverse Australian landscapes. 
2. Conducting extensive laboratory work, including DNA extraction, PCR, and sequencing. 
3. Analyzing large datasets using bioinformatics tools and ecological statistical methods. 
4. Preparing research manuscripts for publication in high-impact, peer-reviewed journals. 
Candidates should hold a Master’s degree, with a significant research component. If you have any previous publications this is highly desirable and will be favourably considered. Ideally applicants will have some experience in bioinformatics and ecological statistics, with a background in molecular ecology. Importantly, the student should be interested and excited about uncovering new knowledge about AM fungi!  
The student will be based at the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment at Western Sydney University (https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/hie). We provide a supportive research environment, along with access to state-of-the-art laboratory and field facilities. You’ll have the opportunity to collaborate with leading scientists in the field and international research groups. 
Scholarships include: 
* a tax-free stipend of $31,500(AUD) per annum for 3 years. 
* a funded place in a research degree for domestic students, or a tuition fee waiver for international students. 
Applications are due by the 17th September. To apply you will need to write a short proposal which I will support you with. 
Please contact me at a.frew@westernsydney.edu.au