PhD Opportunity: Safeguarding bird biodiversity in forest landscapes (UTas)

Closing: 12 February 2021

Birds are affected by land-use changes impacting structure and composition of forests and many species rely on old-growth trees for nesting habitat. Different approaches to plantation and native forest timber harvesting, wildfire impacts, and availability of mature forest reserves could have varying impacts on bird communities. This project will contribute to a large ARC study investigating the complex trade-offs involved between biodiversity conservation and timber production. Bird species responses will be linked with timber yield/revenue data across contrasting management systems in a large landscape ecology study. The research aims to determine the ideal mix of reserves and management to optimise bird conservation outcomes.

Fieldwork plans will be aligned to a larger ARC Future Fellowship project to survey biodiversity along a disturbance/age gradient. There will be opportunity to contribute to other aspects of project conceptualization. There may be an opportunity for global collaboration to compile/analyse existing datasets of forestry impacts on birds; the project will involve some advanced data handling and statistical analysis.

This PhD project will help develop the candidate’s skills in critical thinking, project management, fieldwork, data management and analysis, writing and communication. It will prepare the student for future careers in research, or with government or non-government land management or conservation agencies.

Full funding (living expenses and fees) will be available for a strongly qualified applicant, either from the ARC Future Fellowship associated with the research, or via application for a competitive Australian Research Training Program scholarship. This project will be based in the Biological Sciences department at the University of Tasmania’s Hobart campus, under the supervision of Dr Sue Baker (forest ecologist), Prof. Menna Jones (vertebrate conservation biologist) and Dr Glen Bain (ornithologist). UTAS Biological Sciences is a vibrant and friendly department with an active postgraduate student society. Hobart has a lively arts, food and music scene, farmers markets, and close access to outdoor pursuits like hiking, surfing, rockclimbing, mountain biking, diving.

For more information, please contact Sue Baker:

The nominal closing date is 12th February, but this may be extended if needed to recruit a suitably qualified applicant.