Ecology and demography of a threatened amphibian community

Closing Date: 11 May 2018


The project will be working as part of a research team focusing on the ecology, demography and habitat requirements of threatened native amphibians in freshwater streams within the south west of the Sydney Basin biogeographic region.

Littlejohn’s Treefrog and the Giant Burrowing Frog

Two of the threatened target species are Littlejohn’s Treefrog and the Giant Burrowing Frog. The streams of the study area support communities of several other species that are not threatened. Very little is known about the ecology of the two threatened species in the study region, and there have been various reports of local and widespread declines over the past decades.

Threats to population persistence have not been previously measured in a comprehensive study. The key potential threat investigated by this project is habitat disturbance in the form of mine subsidence, with scope to assess the impact of additional threatening processes such as the chytrid fungal disease, and climate change. The study provides ample opportunity to experimentally compare populations that occur in disturbed and pristine landscapes with the objective to understand the long-term conservation management of these species and their populations. The research will involve a large field component to address the fundamental ecology of the frogs including distribution, abundance and habitat requirements. There is scope for the successful applicant to develop the research into areas of interest, including community ecology, population genetics, behaviour, spatial modelling and mapping, population viability and occupancy modelling, the impact of threatening processes, and habitat and climate change modelling.

PhD Scholarship details

The funds are made possible by an industry funded research project. A contract has been signed with the funding company (South32). Approval has been sought for the stipend component (HDR Scholarship) to be matched by a RHS funded position.

Supervisor: Prof Michael Mahony and Assoc Prof Matthew Hayward

Available to: Domestic students

Fields of Research: Environmental Science and Management. Conservation Biology

Eligibility Criteria

Entry to a HDR requires an appropriate undergraduate degree (e.g. BSc, BEnvSci, BNatResMgt, BAppSci, or similar) with honours or equivalent (e.g. A Master degree or a portfolio of work that would be judged to be equivalent to an honours year).

Application Procedure

Interested applicants should send an email expressing their interest, including scanned copies of their academic transcripts, CV, a brief statement of their research interests and a proposal that specifically links them to the research project, to Michael.mahony@newcastle.edu.au by 11 May 2018 at 5pm.

Applications Close 11 May 2018


Contact Prof Michael Mahony and Assoc Prof Matthew Hayward
Phone +61 2 4921 6014
Email Michael.mahony@newcastle.edu.au

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