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Climate change impacts on New Zealand Fiordland ecosystems

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Alice Rogers
    Dr James Bell
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Global climate change has the potential to increase water temperatures by as much as 2.5C in some locations, with additional impacts on nutrient levels and primary production. The consequences of these changes on marine ecosystems and the services that they provide is a critical area of research. What will future marine ecosystems look like, and will they continue to support the fisheries biomass, productivity and diversity that they do today?

The Fiordlands of New Zealand host rich and productive benthic and pelagic communities, which support important fisheries and tourism industries. Fjords are ideal ecosystems for developing predictive models of climate change impacts because they are largely closed systems, in which key processes affecting organisms can be captured or measured. Although the benthic and pelagic communities of the New Zealand Fiordlands have been described, there has been no work to date to understand the trophic linkages between them. Without this critical knowledge we are unable to predict how future climate change might impact these systems and the services they support.

This project will explore and quantify the interactions between benthic and pelagic environments of the Fiordland ecosystem, and generate a suite of models that can be used to predict the effects of climate change and environmental impacts on their future value.

The project will involve both fieldwork and mathematical modelling and the successful candidate will be able to demonstrate competency in both of these areas.

The student will be registered at Victoria University of Wellington and will be supervised bu Dr Alice Rogers and Associate Professor James Bell.

Key attributes/skills/qualifications required: 1) Bachelor’s or Master’s degree with First Class Honours, or a Master’s degree at an equivalent standard; 2) Must hold a minimum of a PADI Rescue Diver certificate (or equivalent); 3) Have experience of working in marine ecosystems.

Desirable skills: 1) quantitative skills and training including statistics, mathematical modelling and programming; 2) experience in designing and running experiments; 3) experience with otolith examination for fish body growth; 4) experience with stable isotope analyses

Applications should be made directly to Dr Alice Rogers by mid February (or sooner if possible) and include a cover letter outlining why you want the position, full CV, academic transcripts, an example of your scientific writing, and the names/contact details of two people who can act as academic references (there is no need to request any reference letters be sent at the initial stage).

Funding Notes

IMPORTANT NOTE: It will be necessary for the PhD student to secure stipend and fees funding, which can be sought from VUW. While we encourage applications from all interested individuals, the VUW PhD scholarship scheme is only likely to fund students with outstanding academic records. The next closing date for VUW scholarships is March 1st 2019, and assistance will be given in preparing for this deadline. An expected start date will be mid 2019.

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