1: Modelling the management of genetic diversity of populations within fenced conservation reserves

We are offering a fully funded PhD scholarship to work with Dr Carly Cook, Dr Carlo Pacioni and Prof. Carla Sgro.

The proposed PhD project would explore the challenges and benefits of actively managing genetic diversity among fenced populations, using individual-based models to assess the consequences of different patterns of gene flow on genetic diversity. An individual-based modelling approach enables the pairing of detailed demographic information, such as population viability modelling, with individual genetic data, to explore changes in the genetic structure of populations that accompany demographic changes. This provides a powerful tool to simulate changes in populations and assess the associated genetic consequences.

The aim of the project is to explore a range of scenarios for the active management of gene flow to determine the outcomes for maintaining and enhancing genetic diversity among fenced populations. These scenarios would include exploring the impacts of different patterns and rates of gene flow, using a series of case studies that vary important attributes, such as the life history strategy of the species, baseline levels of genetic diversity, the presence of genetic structure among populations, the availability of genetic data and the management of disease. These scenarios will also be designed to vary the objectives of gene flow, exploring the outcomes of strategies to maintain or enhance genetic diversity, as well as those that aim to promote adaptive potential.

The desired outcomes of the project include the development of guidelines and decision support tools to help inform judgements about how best to manage species with small, isolated populations, where on-going management of genetic diversity is likely to be required. This project provides the opportunity to make predictions about how management interventions will influence genetic diversity, using existing genetic data, and then implement those management strategies and assess the realised outcomes for genetic diversity. These types of studies are critical for helping to operationalise existing decision support tool that help assess the genetic risks of translocations, but do not provide guidance on how best to manage promote the long-term genetic health of populations.


2: Assessing the role of scientists within conservation management agencies

We are offering a fully funded PhD scholarship to work with Dr Carly Cook, Prof. Richard Kingsford and Dr Dirk Roux. The candidate must have an interest in the role of knowledge exchange in promoting evidence-based conservation. Click here for more information.


3: Integrating evolutionary theory into conservation management

We are offering a fully funded PhD scholarship to work with Dr Carly Cook and Professor Carla Sgro. The candidate must have research interests in evolutionary biology, ecology and conservation and will undertake a project investigating the how integrating evolutionary theory into conservation management could achieve better long term outcomes for biodiversity. Click here for more information.


4: Improving shark and ray conservation through better fisheries management

This project will explore the impact of recreational fishers on the conservation of sharks and rays. These species are often caught as by-catch but post-release outcomes for these species can be poor. The research will work to understand how fishers interact with sharks and rays when caught, and developing and implementing methods to achieve behavioural change in their interactions with captured individuals. The project is fully funded and the successful applicant will work with myself, A/Prof. Richard Reina and Dr Jessica Walsh. Experience with fisheries management and social research methods would be an advantage. Click here for more information.


5: Conservation psychology

This project will explore a range of factors relating to the psychology of how we achieve conservation objectives. For example, how do values influence perspectives about conservation? Are optimistic or pessimistic messages about conservation more effective reaching the public? If you are interested in hearing more about this project then get in context with Carly. Candidates with a background in psychology or social research methods will have an advantage, but this is not essential for the position.


6: Improving the use of science in conservation management.

I am looking for a highly motivated candidate with research interests in ecology and conservation to undertake a project investigating the role of science-based decision support tools in supporting conservation management decisions. The emphasis of the project will be developed in collaboration with the student to accommodate research interests and strengths. Candidates with backgrounds in biology, mathematics, and/or social research methods are invited to apply. The starting date can be any time during 2018.




1: What is the role of small protected areas in conserving biodiversity


2: What leads private landholders to conserve biodiversity on their properties?


Postgraduate or Postdoctoral research positions

If you are interested in a PhD or a Postdoctoral research position to work in the lab please send your CV (including publications and academic results) and an expression of interest outlining your research interests and motivation to Dr Carly Cook.

Please note: Applicants for a PhD scholarship must possess a Bachelor or equivalent degree with first-class Honours, Master of Science or MPhil. These degrees must have contained a research component to be eligible.

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