News - Freshwater Ecology Research Group - Biological Sciences - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

Freshwater Ecology Research Group

PhD Scholarship in Food Web and Restoration Ecology

Food web restoration ecology phd studentshipThe Freshwater Ecology Group (FERG, School of Biological Sciences, University of Canterbury) is offering one fully-funded PhD studentship in food web and restoration ecology.  This is a chance for a high-calibre student to join a successful research team investigating the fundamental processes underlying resilient food webs to improve stream restoration outcomes and find solutions to freshwater management.

Food web and restoration research

We are looking for a student who is interested in applying food web theory, and functional trait ecology to develop a new framework for restoring degraded biotic communities in freshwater ecosystems. Degraded ecosystems are often locked in negative resistant and resilient states that are unresponsive to management and restoration actions.  This PhD project will explore how a food web and trait-based approach can be applied to overcome this negative resistance and resilience. The project will also focus on the integration of both ecological and cultural health indicators.

The research will include a role in the creation of a trait database for New Zealand waterways (including invertebrates, fish and macrophytes), engagement with experts and stakeholders including local rūnanga (i.e., tribal organisation), and a series of experiments to test food-web theory in a restoration context.  Specialization in freshwater ecosystems is not necessary, however interests and experience in food web ecology, data syntheses, biostatistics and field experimentation are important.  The student will join a vibrant research group with broad ranging interests in freshwater, food web and restoration ecology.  See the FERG and CAREX websites for additional information and publications.

The student will work as part of an interdisciplinary freshwater team, under the co-supervision of Dr. Helen Warburton and Prof. Angus McIntosh with linkages to the Canterbury Waterway Rehabilitation Experiment (CAREX; www.carex.org.nz) and project partners Dr. Catherine Febria (CAREX), Dr. Kristy Hogsden (CAREX), and Dr. Elizabeth Graham (NIWA; www.niwa.co.nz ).

General Information

The successful applicants will need to have the potential to carry out insightful research, as well as the initiative and personality to communicate the results to a wide variety of groups, including other scientists, stakeholders and the general public.  They must be able to work within a team and can expect high quality mentoring and support from the group.  Successful applicants will be highly motivated, have a strong academic record, appropriate practical and technical experience including expertise in biological statistics and will have demonstrated a high level of ability in written and oral communication.  These characteristics will be demonstrated by previous research experience, and underpinned by an undergraduate honours or masters-level degree, and associated outputs (research publication).

The scholarships are for study at the University of Canterbury within the Freshwater Ecology Research Group and consist of a NZ $27,500 per annum student stipend (i.e., tax free living allowance) and funding to cover course fees and research expenses for three years.

Questions about the position and completed applications should be sent to Dr. Helen Warburton (helen.warburton@canterbury.ac.nz) by 10 February 2017.

Applications should include:

  1. an indication of which scholarship you wish to apply for
  2. a full curriculum vitae (including phone and email contact details),
  3. a copy of your academic record,
  4. a one page statement of your research interests and aspirations,
  5. the names and contact details of three referees who are willing to provide confidential comments on your capacity to undertake a PhD, and
  6. an indication of your ability to enroll by April 2017.

Successful applicants may be required to submit copies of official documents before being admitted to the PhD program at the University of Canterbury.

For information on PhD study at the University of Canterbury, including entry requirements, see:
www.canterbury.ac.nz/postgraduate/phd-and-doctoral-study/
For information on the School of Biological Sciences see: www.biol.canterbury.ac.nz
For information on the Freshwater Ecology Research Group see: www.biol.canterbury.ac.nz/ferg