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Phd Scholarship: Incorporating Facilitation Into Our Understanding Of Coexistence In Plant Communities

The University of Queensland - St Lucia, QLD

Education, Childcare & Training
Source: uWorkin


Full Job Description
Research Environment

UQ ranks in the top 50 as measured by the Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities. The University also ranks 46 in the QS World University Rankings, 42 in the US News Best Global Universities Rankings, 66 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and 54 in the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

School of Biological Sciences

The School of Biological Sciences is part of the Faculty of Science and is one of the largest and most successful of its type in Australia, with 49 full-time academic staff, and over 200 enrolled PhD students. The School has broad expertise across ecology and evolution, molecular and quantitative genetics, paleobiology, developmental biology, behaviour, plant and animal physiology, and conservation biology. Our research programs involve a diverse array of taxa, ranging across microbes, animals and plants, including a particular focus in the areas of marine biology and entomology. Unique opportunities for biological research and teaching are provided by our proximity to a stunning array of marine and terrestrial subtropical habitats and their endemic biodiversity. A number of research programs in the School take advantage of major model-organism systems, including Drosophila, C. elegans, and Arabidopsis, and many include a strong quantitative and modelling focus.

Further information and details of the research interests of academic staff may be accessed on the school’s website.

The Mayfield lab is a large vibrant lab that functions in conjunction with the Dwyer lab at the University of Queensland. Jointly, the Mayfield and Dwyer labs support between 10 and 14 people at anyone time, with lab members spanning undergraduate to postgraduate researchers. Research topic in this lab span theoretical and applied topics in plant ecology with most members doing some work in the York gum Jam woodlands of SW Western Australia where this project's Australian field work will take place.

The award

Supervisor - Professor Margaret Mayfield

Professor Margie Mayfield is seeking a PhD student to join the Mayfield Lab at the University of Queensland to work on an ARC funded project on the generalisable importance of positive species interactions to coexistence outcomes in natural plant communities. This project is funded by an ARC grant awarded to Professor Mayfield at the University of Queensland with international partners: Lauren Shoemaker (University of Wyoming, USA), Lauren Hallett (University of Washington, USA) and Oscar Godoy (Universidad de Cadiz, Spain). The successful applicant will have the opportunity to work on the development of models to explore the importance of positive species interactions to accurately predict coexistence outcomes at local scales and across variable environments collect new data in annual plant systems in Spain and Australia to determine if certain types of plant functional traits are more involved in facilitative relationships than others. The selected student will have the opportunity to work with all partners on this project but will be based at UQ. This position is ideal for a student seeking to develop or expand their ecological modelling skills while collecting field data related to herbaceous plant diversity maintenance.

A working knowledge of modern coexistence theory as used in population and community ecology, the R programming language, and an interest in expanding their coding abilities as they relate to ecological statistical modelling would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

Selection criteria

To be eligible to apply, you must also meet the entry requirements for Higher Degrees by Research at UQ.

This scholarship is open to Australian citizens, permanent residents and International students who are currently in Australia at the time of application and commencement.

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant’s previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field/s of ecology and biostatistics and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of community ecology, coexistence theory, the R programming language and plant field ecology is highly desirable.


The 2021 Research Training Program (RTP) living allowance stipend rate is AUD$28,597 per annum (indexed annually), which is tax-free for three years with two possible extensions of up to 6 months each in approved circumstances (conditions apply).


For further information, please contact Professor Margaret Mayfield at m.mayfield@uq.edu.au.

How to apply

To apply for admission and scholarship, follow this link. There is no separate application for scholarship because you will have the opportunity to request scholarship consideration on the application for admission.

Before submitting an application you should:
check your eligibility
prepare your documentation
contact Professor Margaret Mayfield (m.mayfield@uq.edu.au) to discuss your suitability for this scholarship

When you apply, please ensure that under the scholarships and collaborative study section you:

Select ‘My higher degree is not collaborative’
Select 'I am applying for, or have been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship'.
Select ‘Other’, then ‘Research Project Scholarship’ and type in ‘PLANT COMMUNITIES-MAYFIELD’ in the 'Name of scholarship' field.

See an example of what you have to do

Learn more about applying for a higher degree by research at UQ

Applications close: 26 April 2021 (11:00 PM) E. Australia Standard Time

St Lucia, QLD

Education, Childcare & Training


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