[Coral-List] Two tropical PhD opportunities

James Bell James.Bell at vuw.ac.nz
Tue Nov 24 01:41:23 EST 2015

Tropical PhD opportunities in marine modeling and molecular/microbial biology and physiology
Two exciting PhD positions are now available as part of a recently awarded Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden project to: 1) examine the mechanisms of acclimation of sponges to ocean acidification and increased surface temperature; and 2) model the ecosystem level consequences of shifts from coral to sponge-dominated systems. This is a multi-institutional project based out of Victoria University of Wellington (Associate Professors James Bell and Matt Dunn, and Professor Simon Davy), and in collaboration with The Australian Institute of Marine Sciences (Principle Scientist Dr Nicole Webster), Auckland University (Dr Mike Taylor), and CSIRO (Dr Beth Fulton, Hobart). Students will be registered at Victoria University of Wellington, and will be required to spend time at the other institutions.
Closing date for applications 15th December 2015.
PhD position 1: Development of ecosystem models to explore sponge-dominated systems
The successful applicant for this project will work primarily between VUW and CSIRO in the development of an Atlantis model for a coral reef to explore the ecosystem impacts of regime shifts from coral to sponge-dominated states, and to integrate different models of acclimation of sponges and other reef organisms. We are looking for a student with a strong modeling/quantitative background and an M.Sc. in ecology or statistics, with experience in statistical ecology or ecological modeling. We also require a good knowledge of a statistical programming language, preferably R. Experience in analysing large and complex data sets and building and applying population or ecosystem models would also be desirable.
Note: A Marsden funded PhD scholarship is available for this PhD project (covering fees and stipend for 3 years), and applicants would be expected to start in early March 2016.
PhD position 2: Marine molecular/microbial ecology and physiology
 The successful candidate will be based at Victoria University of Wellington, but will spend time at the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences, Townsville, Australia and Auckland University conducting laboratory and fieldwork. The candidate will work as part of a team to conduct a large-scale mesocosm experiment in the state-of-the-art SeaSim aquarium facility to elucidate mechanisms of sponge acclimation to ocean acidification and increased surface temperature. This project may include field, wetlab, and molecular work. We are looking for a student with a strong marine background ideally with an MSc in microbial/molecular ecology or other appropriate experience. Diving skills and experience of coral reef ecosystems are also desirable.
Note: Whilst the travel and research components of this PhD position are funded by Marsden it will be necessary for the PhD student to secure stipend and fees funding, which can be sought from VUW. While we encourage applications from all interested individuals, the VUW PhD scholarship scheme is only likely to fund students with outstanding academic records. The next closing date for VUW scholarships is March 1st 2016 and assistance will be given in preparing for this deadline. Therefore an expected start date will be June/July 2016.
Other important information:
Informal enquiries about these positions can be made directly to Associate Professor James Bell (james.bell at vuw.ac.nz<mailto:james.bell at vuw.ac.nz>).
For further information about Victoria University of Wellington, about the city of Wellington and life in New Zealand, please refer to the VUW website – (www.victoria.ac.nz<http://www.victoria.ac.nz>). This PhD opportunity is open to individuals of all nationalities. If English is not your first language, then please note the English language requirements - http://www.victoria.ac.nz/fgr/prospective-phds/qualifications-required
Please note postgraduate fees for PhD in New Zealand are the same for both domestic and international students, therefore this opportunity is open to students from all countries. Minimum requirement for admission to our 3 year PhD programme is a Bachelor of Science with honours (or equivalent) degree from a university (or equivalent) that is recognised by Victoria University of Wellington.
Applications containing a covering letter, a full CV, and a minimum of two letters of academic reference should be emailed directly to Associate Professor James Bell (james.bell at vuw.ac.nz<mailto:james.bell at vuw.ac.nz>) by 15th December 2015.

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