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Interested in joining us? Have a look at the RRAP job vacancies and Higher Degree Research opportunities available below.

We have two full PhD scholarships to work as part of the EcoRRAP component of the Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program. EcoRRAP focuses on investigating the intrinsic functioning of coral reefs with a strong focus on understanding post disturbance dynamics.


The two scholarships will be working as part of a multi-disciplinary team trying to understand the mechanism driving reef dynamics. In particular one of the scholarships will be focused on evolutionary biology of corals with an emphasis on the relationship between temperature and growth. The second scholarship will be focused on coral population dynamics and spatial ecology based on 3D imagery.


Interested applicants please contact Juan Ortiz regarding the temperature-growth scholarship and Renata Ferrari Legorreta regarding the population dynamics and spatial ecology scholarship.

Biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) are trace gases of biological origin that play a key role in earth system processes. There are two principal aspects relating to climate change and BVOCs (1) the potential influence of BVOC’s on regional and global climate, and (2) the potential influence of a changing climate on the production of BVOCs. An inter-reliance which is well illustrated on the Great Barrier Reef.

Coral reefs are considered potential hotspots for BVOC emissions due to their high biological productivity, temperature and light, but little is known about the amount or forms of BVOCs emitted, and the mechanisms underlying their production. BVOCs can all act as precursors of secondary organic aerosols, essential for particle nucleation and the production of cloud condensation nuclei, which seed cloud droplets and influence the properties including the albedo (reflectivity) of low level clouds, potentially playing a role in regulating climate.

The production of BVOCs by coral reefs is also a poorly understood potential feedback mechanism in coral bleaching episodes. Some studies have suggested that production of BVOCs by the Great Barrier Reef may help to down-regulate solar irradiance and sea surface temperatures, mitigating against bleaching, while others argue this effect may not be significant, or exist at all. Compounding this ongoing debate, changes to BVOCs production

as a result of warming and associated coral bleaching (and other stressors such as light and ocean acidification) in the Great Barrier Reef remain almost completely unquantified.

One of the major problems with BVOC research on coral reefs to-date is that seawater BVOC samples are collected in a bottle and then analysed back in the laboratory. This limits the number of BVOCs measured, and the quality, and temporal resolution, of the data.

This project will overcome these previous limitations by using a transportable Equilibrator Inlet Proton Transfer Reaction Mass to make in situ, high precision, high temporal resolution measurements of the full spectrum of BVOCs. As such, it will make significant advances in quantifying and understanding the mechanisms of BVOC release from coral reefs and their influence on the regional and global climate system.

This project is part of the Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program (RRAP), a large-scale collaborative research and development program to develop, test and assess innovative interventions to enhance reef resilience and sustain ecological functions and values. The Cooling and Shading sub-program is focused on evaluation and development of interventions to reduce coral bleaching stress across multiple scales, ranging from individual high value reefs right up to the scale of the entire GBR ecosystem. This program incorporates fundamental science on atmospheric – radiation – ocean – coral interactions as well as applied science and engineering in the development and testing of innovative coral conservation approaches.

Applicants will need to have an Honours or Master degree, undertaken in English, in a related field such as biogeochemistry, environmental chemistry, or closely related. The project will involve extended periods in the field, including in boats, sometimes in remote areas. The PhD scholarship will provide a tax-free stipend of $28,082 and tuition fees will be exempt. Interested applicants should send their CV highlighting their research background and interests in this area to Prof. Bradley Eyre – ( Only short-listed applicants will be notified. Closing date July 11, 2021 although it may be extended longer if position is not filled. Starting date is November 2021 (for overseas applicants this will depend on Australian boarders and getting appropriate visas).

The project will be undertaken in the Centre for Coastal Biogeochemistry ( at Southern Cross University which received the highest rank of 5.0, well above world average, in geochemistry in the most recent assessment of research excellence by the Australian government.

This position is based at Southern Cross University’s Lismore campus, northern NSW, Australia (near Byron Bay). The region is a great place to live with a sub-tropical climate, some the best beaches and surfing in the world, plus great fishing, scuba diving and wilderness areas. The quality of life is high and the cost of living relatively low compared to many cities.

The Research Fellow/Associate Lecturer (Level A) or Research Fellow/Lecturer (Level B) joins a multi-institutional and collaborative team of scientists and engineers contributing to the Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program (RRAP), Rubble Stabilisation Subprogram.

The Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program (RRAP) brings together Australia’s leading experts to create an innovative suite of safe, acceptable interventions to help the Great Barrier Reef be resilient, adapt to, and recover from the impacts of climate change. This Research and Development (R&D) program is the world’s largest effort to help a significant ecosystem survive climate change.

The RRAP Rubble Stabilisation R&D Subprogram is investigating methods to stabilise damaged reef surfaces. Natural and man-made disturbances, such as cyclones, ship groundings, crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks and coral bleaching can reduce functional and diverse coral reefs to fields of unstable rubble. The lack of stability of these damaged reef surfaces can prevent or slow reef recovery. An important component of the R&D Subprogram is to identify coral reefs that can most benefit from restoration strategies: those reefs most vulnerable to rubble formation, and those where prevailing conditions and reduced times between disturbance events can make mobile rubble persist and hinder reef recovery.

The position will work closely with the Rubble Stabilisation Subprogram team members and other participants in RRAP to create reef-wide hazard vulnerability maps to highlight areas most vulnerable to rubble generation, and areas where rubble is likely to become a persistent constraint on reef recovery that can then guide management and restoration activities.

The successful candidate will also have an undergraduate teaching role delivering the core Geospatial Information Science unit and will contribute to delivering climate related units.

The Research Fellow will ideally have an in-depth knowledge of geospatial information science theory, cartographic capability and experience teaching GIS, oceanography or spatial science.

This position reports to the Rubble Stabilisation Program Lead and the Head of School for supervision, workload management and for Performance Planning and Review (PPR).

For further information and to apply, please visit for reference number 21751.  

When applying for this position your application must include the following:

  • A current resume; and
  • Response to the selection criteria

Applications close  1 August 2021

We have two PhD scholarships to work as part of the cooling and shading sub-program of the Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program (RRAP). The overall aim of RRAP research is to test novel interventions to help keep the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) resilient and sustain critical functions and values. The cooling and shading sub-program are a multi-disciplinary team working to improve the current understanding and modelling of clouds and radiation over the Great Barrier Reef, and design and test potential interventions.

The PhD projects will undertake research across one (or some) of the QUT-led components of the cooling and shading sub-program. These include:

  • taking observations of the atmosphere over the great barrier reef. Observations will be used to evaluate the performance of atmospheric models and provide ground truthing for satellite-based observations.
  • designing and testing sea salt droplet generation methods that have the potential to be scaled up for implementation over the GBR. Sea salt droplet generation systems will be designed to shade the reef by fogging (directly scattering incoming solar radiation) and marine cloud brightening (changing cloud properties to scatter incoming solar radiation)
  • modelling the dispersion of sea salt droplets through the marine boundary layer and their capacity to scatter solar radiation
  • evaluation of prototype sea spray droplet generation systems in-situ over the GBR.

For more information about the roles please visit QUT - Examining atmospheric cooling and shading interventions for the Great Barrier Reef (PhD scholarship) or contact Dr Luke Cravigan.

We are seeking to recruit as soon as possible, however the scholarship will remain open until 30 July 2021.


The Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program (RRAP) is an ambitious and innovative R&D effort that places Australia as the leader of coral reef adaptation and restoration science.  It is a consortium of Partners, including (PARTNER NAME), dedicated to creating an innovative toolkit of interventions to help the Reef resist, adapt to, and recover from the impacts of climate change. These partners include the Australian Institute of Marine Science, CSIRO, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, James Cook University, Southern Cross University, QUT and the University of Queensland.

HDR positions are available within the Enhanced Corals and Treatments Subprogram, which delivers a comprehensive understanding of the innate capacity of corals to adapt to current and projected temperature changes and evaluate the benefits and risks of enhancing heat and bleaching tolerance through selected movement, breeding or treatments.

Experience in molecular biology (e.g. genomics or transcriptomics) and/or bioinformatics is required.  

Roles will be based at James Cook University  and the Australian Institute of Marine Science Townsville.

Closing dates for applications: 30th September 2021.

For further information and applications please email Kate Quigley ( or visit Higher Degree Research Scholarships - JCU Australia for more information. 

Outstanding PhD candidates are sought to join a multi-institutional team of social scientists from CSIRO, James Cook University, Queensland University of Technology and the University of Queensland contributing to the Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program (RRAP), Stakeholder and Traditional Owner Engagement Subprogram. RRAP is believed to be the world’s largest research and development program dedicated to helping a major ecosystem survive climate change. The Stakeholder and Traditional Owner Engagement Subprogram aims to facilitate the design and implementation of best-practice, place-based, engagement opportunities for Reef Traditional Owners, communities and stakeholders while, at the same time, building understanding of public perceptions of reef restoration and adaptation, the distribution of risks and benefits arising from intervention R&D and implementation, and opportunities to deliver positive community and stakeholder impacts.

Prospective PhD projects include:

  1. ENG01: Extreme event exposure and perceptions of environmental risk. Through ethnographic research in Far North Queensland, this project will explore relationships between community identity, sense of place, exposure to severe coral bleaching and other extreme events, and perceptions of environmental risk. Supervisors: Prof Stewart Lockie, JCU;
  2. ENG02: . This project will examine decision-making cultures and alternative governance models for managing large scale risks in order to identify design principles and an evaluation framework to monitor and evaluate decision-making. Supervisors: Prof Karen Vella, QUT; Dr Maxine Newlands, JCU; Dr Tim Rose, QUT.
  3. ENG03: (Social) media representation and social acceptance of reef restoration and adaptation. Discourse analysis of conventional and social media will track both sentiment toward reef restoration and adaptation and the signifiers or meanings most commonly associated with restoration and adaptation. Supervisors: Dr Maxine Newlands, JCU.
  4. ENG04: Restoration and adaptation as scientific boundary objects. This project will examine the extent to which concepts of restoration and adaptation enable integration of knowledge and resolution of competing perspectives across sectoral and disciplinary boundaries. Supervisors: Prof Stewart Lockie, JCU; Dr Bruce Taylor, CSIRO.
  5. ENG05: Understanding public and community responses to large scale ecological restoration of the GBR. This project draws on existing and future large scale quantitative surveys to document public attitudes and expectations about restoration and how it is managed. This includes identifying key drivers of trust and tracking key influences of those attitudes and expectations over time. Supervisors: Prof Brent Ritchie, UQ; Dr Justine Lacey, CSIRO.
  6. ENG06: Stakeholder engagement in action research for strategic environmental assessment. This project will investigate the impact that social, cultural, and institutional factors have on increasing and facilitating stakeholder and community engagement in action research that contributes procedures of environmental assessment. Supervisors: Dr Mark Limb, QUT; Dr Umberto Baresi, QUT; Dr Tim Rose, QUT.
  7. ENG07: Evaluation of collaborative learning in cumulative effects assessment. This project will evaluate how collaborative learning between scientists, decision-makers and the community can better contribute to the definition and the analysis of cumulative effects in dedicated assessment procedures. Supervisors: Assoc. Prof Karen Vella, QUT; Dr Tim Rose, QUT; Dr Umberto Baresi, QUT.

Please note candidates are welcome to propose additional projects linked to program objectives and the candidate’s own capabilities and interests. Supervisory arrangements for all topics are subject to approval and confirmation by the partner universities.

Candidates must be eligible for entry to a Doctoral program and to apply for a competitive postgraduate research scholarship at one of the partner universities.

Expressions of interest will be accepted on a rolling basis but applicants are advised to note scholarship deadlines for each of the partner universities. Scholarship information can be found at:

For more information please contact:

Prof Stewart Lockie

Assoc. Prof Karen Vella

Dr Mark Limb

Dr Umberto Baresi


Deakin University’s Nutrition and Seafood Laboratory (NuSea.Lab) and the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) are seeking an exceptional PhD candidate to undertake highly collaborative research under the Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program (RRAP) initiative aiming to develop novel microencapsulated feeds to support enhanced growth, health and resilience of aquaculture-produced coral.


Successful development, growth and reproduction of captive organisms is contingent on optimized nutrition, including the provision of pre- and probiotics, as shown for many aquaculture species. Altered nutritional status (e.g., structural lipid concentration and fatty acid profile) and microbial profiles are seen in corals within months of transfer from field to experimental conditions, and this may be central to some species developing signs of compromised health and disease when held under captive conditions for long periods. Research into coral diets (palatability, nutrient composition and ratios, pre- and probiotics) has the potential to enhance survival, health and growth of asexually and sexually propagated corals, and decrease their time in aquaculture facilities prior to deployment for restoration purposes. Diets also likely influence reproductive output and the timing of sexual maturation in coral broodstock.


The objective of this PhD project will be to test and compare how newly developed coral diets can support the growth, health and resilience of captive coral species. The specific aims of the PhD project will be to:


  1. Implement aquaria-based feeding trials centered around the newly developed diets, with manipulation of environmental factors (e.g., temperature, pathogen exposure) as an additional variable; and
  2. Perform subsequent analyses to assess how diets influence the survival, growth, development, health (nutritional status, microbial profiles) and resilience of coral recruits and fragments.

The PhD student will have access to the National Sea Simulator at AIMS, where a host of environmental conditions and water quality parameters can be controlled to mimic current and future on the Great Barrier Reef. These experiments and trials will be complimented by the high order analytical capabilities of the AIMS and Deakin University laboratories.


Domestic candidates, or International candidates currently residing in Australia with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) or Master of Science will be considered and a stipend of AU$28,096 per annum (non-taxable) will be offered over the 3 year duration of the project.  Selection will follow a multi-step process with interested applicants encouraged to submit a complete Expression of Interest form plus a detailed curriculum vitae.


This position will remain open until a suitable candidate has been identified.


Please find more information about the role here: PhD project: Microencapsulated feeds for captive corals - NuSea.Lab


Dr. Lone Høj

Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS)



Dr. Melissa Rocker

NuSea.Lab, Deakin University