Location University of Tasmania, Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology
Discipline
App. deadline 31/12/2017
Funding
  • Scholarship available
Eligibility Open to international applicants

Rapid evolution of Tasmanian devils in response to facial tumour disease

The Research Project:

New and emerging infectious diseases usually cause high mortality and can cause extinction but over time, evolution in both the host animal and the pathogen are expected to result in epidemic diseases becoming endemic, with coexistence and recovery of the host animal. Tasmanian devils have suffered more than 90% population decline across much of their range in the last 20 years due to a rare, fatal transmissible cancer. Population decline seems to have stabilised and devils persist in long-diseased areas of Tasmania. Extreme adult mortality will create strong evolutionary selection pressure and we expect that both devils and their tumours will evolve towards an endemic state in which they can live together. Results suggest that they are evolving resistance to the disease as well as changing in their behaviour and life history. The project aims to test whether the changes observed in the wild are heritable and to examine the attributes of individuals and lineages that are better adapted to the disease. The project will involve analysis of a large pedigree data set derived from genomics.

Eligibility: The following eligibility criteria apply to this scholarship:

  • The scholarship is open to Australian (domestic) candidates and to International candidates.
  • The PhD must be undertaken on a full-time basis.
  • Applicants must already have been awarded a first class Honours degree or hold equivalent qualifications or relevant and substantial research experience in an appropriate sector.
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate strong research and analytical skills.

Candidates from disciplinary backgrounds in ecology, evolution and applied mathematics are encouraged to apply.  Knowledge and skills that will be ranked highly include:

  • Wildlife ecology and evolutionary biology
  • Applied statistics
  • Programming skills

Application Process: Applicants should first contact Associate Professor Menna Jones to discuss their suitability for the project, then complete the application via the University of Tasmania's admissions system and scholarship section (see How to Apply on the Graduate Research Future Students page) and indicate under ‘Scholarship Support: Living Allowance’ that you wish to be considered for a ‘UTAS merit-based scholarship for a living allowance’

Value & Duration: TGRS or APA scholarships will be funded at the 2017 rate (in 2016 the rate was AUD $26,288 per annum) as a living allowance for 3 years, with a possible 6 month extension. This rate is indexed annually.

The scholarship also includes $2,000pa operational funds to support travel for the PhD research project.



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Further Information / Application Enquiries

A/Prof Menna Jones