Two PhD positions ‘Heat stress in cooperative breeding superb fairy-wrens’
In the Behavioural and Evolutionary Ecology of Birds Group
(https://sites.google.com/site/petersresearchgroup/) @ Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, two PhD positions (start date negotiable) are available to study how ambient temperatures affect physiology and behaviour of superb fairy-wrens Malurus cyaneus, a very well studied model species. The proposed projects will investigate effects of high temperatures on metabolism, condition, heat stress, behaviour, and molecular aging and how these might be mitigated by cooperative breeding. Additionally, the project will assess which individual attributes (age, sex, social status, morphology, genetic background) and environmental parameters (social group size, habitat quality) affect individual variation in response to increasing temperatures. One project will focus on immediate responses by nestlings, delayed effects into adulthood, and include experimental approaches. The second project will answer similar questions in adults. The students will have freedom to develop own research directions within the broad topic of heat stress.
Field work will take place at Lysterfield Park, an open woodland near the university, where we study a large partly-colourbanded population. The research is well-funded through a Discovery Project grant of the Australian Research Council (DP18) to Assoc Prof Anne Peters.
Requirements and further information
Applicants must have excellent grades, a passion for studying wild animals in their natural environment, a strong work ethic, experience with fieldwork and/or bird handling and/or relevant quantitative skills are highly desirable, a full driver’s licence is needed. Successful students will be accepted into the world class Monash Doctoral Program (www.monash.edu/science/schools/biological-sciences/postgrad); they will be offered a scholarship ($27K tax free) for three years, with the possibility of a six-month extension; tuition fees are covered for the duration of candidature. Highly competitive Australian or New Zealand students will be offered an additional $10k p.a. Monash Excellence top-up scholarship. Research costs and conference attendance are covered.
See https://sites.google.com/site/petersresearchgroup/opportunities for further details. Contact Anne (anne.peters[at]monash.edu) if you would like further information on the project or the application process.