A multi-species approach to managing feral animals in tropical savanna landscapes

A multi-species approach to managing feral animals in tropical savanna landscapes

A PhD project is available to study density related damage, by feral animals, of protected tropical landscapes. This Australian Research Council (ARC) funded project is a collaboration between Parks Australia - Kakadu National Park and Charles Darwin University (CDU). The student will be based in the Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods (RIEL) at Charles Darwin University (Darwin) under the supervision of Prof. Mike Lawes (CDU) and Dr Clive McMahon.

This is an exciting opportunity for a dynamic quantitative field ecologist to make a significant contribution to understanding how invasive species affect landscapes of national importance. Controlling invasive species is important for maintaining healthy landscapes. Often, more than one invasive species occupies a landscape, and simultaneous management is required. The project will quantify how invasive species degrade environments and reduce biodiversity by developing a multi-species predictive model from our case study in Kakadu National Park. This project will make an important contribution to the management and control of destructive invasive species in protected areas. The proposed model will be spatially explicit and based on rigorous sampling of feral pigs and buffalo to provide precise demographic and population density data. Habitat use and in situ density related habitat damage data, derived from satellite-linked GPS loggers and on-ground vegetation damage surveys, will be integrated into the model.

Applicants should preferentially have a background in population ecology, be quantitative with some experience in population modelling and relevant experience working in remote field sites. VisualBasic programming skills would be an advantage. This project will have a significant field component based in Kakadu National Park.

The opportunity is only open to Australian and New Zealand Citizens (permanent residents of Australia). The candidate will need to obtain an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) scholarship at CDU (http://www.cdu.edu.au/research/students/scholarships/internal.html#APA), and thus eligibility includes a Bachelors degree with first-class Honours, or a research Masters degree from a recognised university. APA scholarships include a stipend and allowances for relocation and thesis costs. The APA will be supplemented by $6K p.a. Project costs are covered by the ARC.

Please note that Clive McMahon is a possible supervisor for this project as well.

Interested students should email their CV (including details of two academic referees), academic record, and research interests to Prof. Mike Lawes (Michael.Lawes@cdu.edu.au).

Expressions of interest close 15 October 2012

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