Applications for this PhD have now closed.
Location Western Sydney University, Graduate Research School
App. deadline 31/03/2017
  • Scholarship available
Project ID 2017-017
Eligibility Open to international applicants

Non-Invasive Imaging of Drought-Induced Cavitation in Plants

The Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment (HIE) is one of four institutes within Western Sydney University. HIE has rapidly become a research leader in ecosystem function and environmental responses to changing climate, with a strong reputation for delivering research outcomes of the highest quality. HIE houses a team of over 50 scientists with access to a unique suite of world-class research facilities. The plant hydraulics group at HIE is widely recognised for their work in understanding how plants respond drought in natural and agricultural systems.

We are now seeking a highly motivated PhD student to contribute to a new Australian Research Council Discovery project that aims to resolve a number of long-standing questions regarding hydraulic function of plants: at what point in the process of water stress do emboli form in xylem conduits? How do plants recover from these drought-induced disruptions to water transport?
In the project, the student will utilize cutting edge non-invasive imaging techniques to study the dynamics of drought-induced cavitation in plants. These techniques allow unambiguous measurement of how cavitation is propagated within and between different plants organs (leaves, stems, roots). These measurements will be used to establish thresholds in lethal water stress for a range of plant species.

The student will be based at HIE but will be expected to travel to the University of Tasmania for collaborative work with A. Prof. Tim Brodribb during the course of the project. There will also be opportunities for travel to France for collaborative work with Dr Sylvain Delzon and Dr Herve Cochard (INRA), and Dr Philippe Marmottant (CNRS).

Domestic students will receive a tax free stipend of $25,861 per annum and a funded place in the doctoral degree.
» International students will receive a tax free stipend of $25,861 per annum. Those with a strong track record may receive a fee waiver.
» International students will also be provided with funding for a single Overseas Student Health Care (OSHC) policy.
» Funding is available for project costs and conference travel.

We welcome applicants from a wide range of backgrounds, especially those with a strong grounding in plant physiological ecology. The successful applicant should:
» hold qualifications and experience equal to an Australian First Class Bachelor Honours degree or equivalent overseas qualifications
» have an interest in, or be willing to learn, plant biology and ecosystem ecology
» be enthusiastic and highly motivated to undertake further study at an advanced level
» International applicants must also demonstrate a high level of proficiency in the English language.
Please refer to the English language requirements at

» Applicants should discuss their eligibility and interests with A. Prof Brendan Choat
» Contact the Graduate Research School at
» Please submit an application form, CV, names and contact information of two referees, and a
one-page document stating how your research interests align with the project's aims.
» The application form can be downloaded:

Closing date: 31 March 2017

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Further Information / Application Enquiries

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