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PhD projects in freshwater ecology at the University of Otago

The Freshwater Research Group at the University of Otago has funding to support two PhD projects in freshwater ecology:

1. Freshwater crayfish.
Funding to provide a PhD scholarship top-up and research is available to support a research project examining aspects of freshwater crayfish (koura) ecology that can lead to improvements in commercial aquaculture. The funding is provided by Ernslaw One Ltd. to support research leading to advancements in the pond-based aquaculture of koura (Paranephrops zealandicus).
A core aspect of the project will examine the early life history of crayfish, with the aim of improving rates of juvenile production, survival and growth to a stage where they can be released into rearing ponds for growth to a commercial size. In addition, there will be considerable scope for the student to develop their own research interests provided they align with the overall aims of the project which relate to improving the efficiency of commercial production of koura in outdoor ponds located across Otago and Southland.
The successful applicant must be eligible for a University of Otago PhD scholarship (a tax-free stipend of NZ$25,000 per annum plus fees for three years). Funding from Ernslaw One Pty. Ltd will provide an additional $5,000 per annum scholarship top-up plus $15,000 to support the research for three years.
We are looking for a highly motivated student who has an aptitude for animal husbandry, innovation, commercial instinct, and an ability to work with a wide range of people both within and outside the University. The successful applicant will require a strong academic record, appropriate practical and technical experience, and will have demonstrated a high level of ability in written and oral communication.
The project will be supervised by Associate Professor Gerry Closs, Dr. Mark Lokman (University of Otago) and John Hollows (Ernslaw One Pty. Ltd.). The student will join a highly active research group within the Department of Zoology, with access to excellent laboratory facilities, aquaria and tank rooms with temperature control, and field equipment and vehicles. Additional in-kind support and access to field sites will also be available through Ernslaw One Pty. Ltd.
Applications should be sent via e-mail to Associate Professor Gerry Closs (Gerry.closs@otago.ac.nz) by 30th August 2013, and should include:
i) a full curriculum vitae
ii) a copy of your academic record
iii) the names and contact details of three referees who can provide confidential
comments on your ability to undertake a PhD.,
iv) a one page statement / outline of your research interests in relation to the aims
of the proposed project, and
v) an indication of a desired start date.

Questions relating to the details of the research project and academic supervision can be directed to Associate Professor Gerry Closs (Gerry.closs@otago.ac.nz).
For information on PhD study at the University of Otago, including entry requirements, see:
http://www.otago.ac.nz/postgraduate/index.html
For information on the Department of Zoology see:
http://www.otago.ac.nz/zoology

2. The potential use of pelagic trophic cascades and foodweb manipulation in the restoration of two eutrophic Central Otago lakes.
Funding towards a PhD scholarship is available for a research project undertaking fundamental research on the pelagic food webs of two eutrophic Central Otago lakes (Lakes Hayes and Johnson). There is interest from locals and the regional council to examine potential lake restoration approaches for these lakes. In 2010/11 incursions of the invasive Daphnia pulex, resulted in a regime shift from a phytoplankton-dominated, turbid state to conditions of unprecedented water clarity in the lakes. However, the effect was short-lived and the lakes are once again suffering summer algal blooms. Observations suggest that perch recruitment increased in response to the plentiful Daphnia, and now Daphnia density (and grazing on phytoplankton) is controlled by juvenile perch. Careful studies on the trophic interactions between perch, zooplankton and phytoplankton will be undertaken to evaluate whether food web manipulations (fish stocking/removal) could facilitate a long-term restoration of the lakes. Depending on the outcome of studies in the first two years, a whole lake food web manipulation in Lake Johnson may be attempted in year 3 of the PhD. Among other methods, this project will provide the opportunity to use stable isotope analysis and essential fatty acid analysis to elucidate the trophic interactions of pelagic organisms.
The successful applicant must be eligible for a University of Otago PhD scholarship (a tax-free stipend of NZ$25,000 per annum plus fees for three years). Funding from The Otago Regional Council and the Friends of Lake Hayes will provide an additional $12,000 per annum to support the research for three years. The Friends of Lake Hayes will also provide “in kind” support, such as accommodation and some support for sampling. Two of the PhD supervisors (Schallenberg and Burns) have extensive experience working in both Lakes Hayes and Johnson and substantial historical datasets are available to provide context to this PhD project.
We are looking for a highly motivated student who has an interest in lake food webs and lake restoration. The student should be either qualified to drive a boat or be willing to undertake the required training (funded). The student should also have the ability to work and communicate with a wide range of people both within and outside the University. While substantial training will be provided, the successful applicant will require a strong academic record, appropriate practical and technical experience, and will have demonstrated a high level of ability in written and oral communication.

The project will be supervised by Dr. Marc Schallenberg, Associate Professor Gerry Closs, and Professor Carolyn Burns (University of Otago). The student will join a highly active research group within the Department of Zoology, with access to excellent laboratory facilities, aquaria and tank rooms with temperature control, and field equipment and vehicles.
Applications should be sent via e-mail to Associate Professor Gerry Closs (Gerry.closs@otago.ac.nz) by 30th August 2013, and should include:
vi) a full curriculum vitae
vii) a copy of your academic record
viii) the names and contact details of three referees who can provide confidential
comments on your ability to undertake a PhD.,
ix) a one page statement / outline of your research interests in relation to the aims
of the proposed project, and
x) an indication of a desired start date.
Questions relating to the details of the research projects and academic supervision can be directed to Associate Professor Gerry Closs (Gerry.closs@otago.ac.nz) for the crayfish project and Dr. Marc Schallenberg (marc.schallenberg@otago.ac.nz) for the food web project.
For information on PhD study at the University of Otago, including entry requirements, see:
http://www.otago.ac.nz/postgraduate/index.html
For information on the Department of Zoology see:
http://www.otago.ac.nz/zoology


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