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 email@example.com regarding the temperature-growth scholarship and Renata Ferrari Legorreta firstname.lastname@example.org 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 – (email@example.com). 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 (www.scu.edu.au/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 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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:
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 should be submitted to Prof Stewart Lockie (email@example.com). Please attach a single PDF file that includes: a brief cover letter/statement of interest and experience (1 page maximum), a CV including the names and contact details of 3 referees (2 pages max), and an academic transcript. Please include the statement “Application for <Project Code> <Project Title>” on the subject line.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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:
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
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 QUT, 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.
The decline of coral reefs, especially the Great Barrier Reef, is having a devastating impact on the biodiversity and ecosystem of coral life. Very little is known about how coral responds to environmental changes at the molecular level, largely due to a lack of genomic and proteomic studies. However, like any other organism, we know that the response of coral to stress is tightly controlled by a regulatory network describing the interplay of many molecular factors. While a large amount of effort has gone to elucidating how these regulatory networks impact diseases in large organisms, such as cancer in mammals, none have considered how understanding the regulatory networks within coral might assist in our understanding of reef decline.
In this project, we will use mathematical modelling to describe the tightly regulated protein networks associated with survival and resilience within coral. Using these models, we will investigate how changes in environmental stressors are processed by coral signaling networks, and may ultimately lead to the decline of healthy functioning coral. By creating a model for coral bleaching, we hope to assist the restoration of the reef by suggesting new intervention strategies based on the stability of the regulatory networks within coral at different locations in the Great Barrier Reef.
For more information and to apply visit: QUT - Modelling the regulatory network within coral to inform intervention and restoration of the Great Barrier Reef (PhD scholarship)
Applications close: 31st October 2021
We are seeking a high performing PhD candidate with experience using drones and spatial analysis to join our team investigating how cloud brightening can reduce risk of coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef. The candidate will be supervised by Professor Brendan Kelaher and Dr Daniel Harrison (Southern Cross University).
This project forms part of the Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program (RRAP), 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 SCU, dedicated to creating an innovative toolkit of interventions to help the Reef resist, adapt to, and recover from the impacts of climate change. Other partners include the Australian Institute of Marine Science, CSIRO, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, James Cook University, QUT and the University of Queensland.
The Cooling and Shading sub-program is focused on the evaluation and development of interventions to reduce coral bleaching stress across multiple scales, ranging from individual high value reefs right up to the entire GBR ecosystem.
The PhD project will require the use of cutting-edge hybrid drones up to 25 kg, the skills to safely fly missions beyond-visual-line-of-sight and the willingness to go to sea (see figure above). CASA certified training will also be provided to the right candidate.
Students will be enrolled through the Higher Degree Research Training Program at Southern Cross University and will be provided a living allowance of AU$28,092 per annum, indexed annually.
APPLICATIONS CLOSE 21 September 2021.
Beyond this date, expressions of interest will still be accepted and may be considered for subsequent rounds.
Expressions of interest should be submitted to Professor email@example.com with subject line “PhD Application for Cooling and Shading sub Program”. Please attach a single PDF file that includes: a brief cover letter/statement of interest and experience (one page maximum), a CV including the names and contact details of 3 referees (three pages max), and an academic transcript.
Climate change threatens the survival of corals worldwide, and many reefs have experienced multiple episodes of severe and widespread bleaching. Thus, it is becoming increasingly urgent to determine how quickly corals can adapt to elevated temperatures and other environmental stressors. We are seeking a PhD student to participate in a large-scale collaborative project that is part of the Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program. The project examines relationships between physiological phenotypes and genomic variation in corals to advance understanding of their adaptive capacity. The PhD project will focus on the physiology and/or genomics of target coral species. There is scope for the student to develop additional project themes depending on their specific interests.
Competitive applicants will have demonstrated relevant research experience in at least one of the following areas: marine field work involving diving for research, physiological experiments on corals or related taxa, advanced training in evolution and genetics, and/or bioinformatics. The selected applicant will be encouraged to apply for an Australian Research Training Program stipend ($28,854 per year, indexed annually) and should be available to start their studies in early 2022. This opportunity is open to domestic and international applicants, although preference may be given to individuals currently residing in Australia due to border restrictions.
The student will be based at the National Marine Science Centre at Southern Cross University in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, under the primary supervision of Dr. Emily Howells. The student will be co-supervised by Dr. Line Bay at the Australian Institute of Marine Science and may spend some time undertaking research at this organisation.
Prepare a single PDF file that includes: a brief cover letter/statement of interest and experience (1 page max), a CV including the names and contact details of 3 referees (2 pages max), and an academic transcript. Applications and enquiries can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Applications close: 24th September.
We are looking for a PhD scholar to work as part of a multi-party project on cooling - and thereby saving - the Great Barrier Reef. The PhD project will contribute to the development of clean energy systems that power the equipment that increases the thickness of marine clouds above the reef. These systems may feature solar photovoltaics, wind power, bio fuels, wave power, batteries and other technologies. The project will assess the technical, economic, and social feasibility of these technologies and design systems to meet the needs of the reef cooling applications. The student will work closely with the Battery Storage and Grid Integration Program at ANU (www.bsgip.com), as well as researchers at Southern Cross University and the broader Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program.
Applicants will need to have expertise in a relevant field, such as electrical, mechatronic, or mechanical engineering, physics, techno-economic analysis, or systems modelling. Experience with modelling energy systems, coding in Python, and/or prior experience in renewable energy systems analysis is an advantage, as is experience in working in diverse teams.
To apply: please send a 1 page cover letter and CV (including results for relavant degrees) to Dr Bjorn Sturmberg before mid October to allow time for a full application.