Don't miss our weekly PhD newsletter | Sign up now Don't miss our weekly PhD newsletter | Sign up now

  Exploring nutritional supplements to enhance coral reslience

   Faculty of Science

   Saturday, June 29, 2024  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

In order to thrive and endure environmental challenges, corals, like all living organisms, necessitate exceptional nutrition. Although typically situated in nutrient-poor waters, corals possess the ability to extract nutrients from their surroundings to support their well-being. This unique feeding capability presents an opportunity to assist corals in overcoming stressors, such as coral bleaching, through the provision of custom-tailored nutritional supplements. The proposed research project involves employing various scientific methodologies, including mass spectral chemical analysis of elements and lipids, alongside assessments of coral husbandry and health metrics to (i) pinpoint the trace elements and lipids that enhance coral resilience during thermal stress and (ii) refine the administration of a nutritional supplement tailored for corals. The research will commence with small-scale laboratory trials, followed by in situ validation on the Great Barrier Reef. Ultimately, the project aims to establish an optimised methodology and nutrient supplement composition applicable in both natural and controlled settings, contributing to the overall fitness of coral ecosystems. The outcomes will bridge gaps in our knowledge of how coral nutrition supports their resilience, and provide a potential innovative restoration strategy centred on nutritional supplementation that can enhance the vitality of existing natural reefs, aid in the restoration of degraded reef landscapes, and benefit the aquaculture industry. This PhD will form part of a funded CORDAP program: Super Supplement: Boosting coral resilience through nutritional subsidies (

This project is supported by the Coral Research Accelerator and Development Program (CORDAP).

This project will be hosted within the Future Reefs Team (FRT), within the Climate Change Cluster (C3) at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). The FRT unites coral ecophysiologists, molecular scientists, biologists, and analytical chemists to study how environmental change shapes coral fitness and survival. The Team's research ranges from organism scale molecular signatures to broad scale ecological interactions and specialise in advancing technical solutions to support innovative scientific capacity. The outcomes directly inform how reefs will look and function into the future, but also how to better preserve and re-build "healthy reefs". C3 is one of the UTS “research strength” institutes and currently hosts 90 researchers, providing a vibrant environment and a comprehensive suite of field and laboratory-based analytical equipment and research infrastructure that will be available to the successful candidate throughout this project.  


Applicants must be a domestic student (either permanent Australian residents or New Zealand citizens). To be eligible for this applicantion, applicants must have completed a UTS recognised degree in

• MSc Research or MSc Coursework with a research thesis of at least 6 months,

• or Bachelor Honours degree with 1st Class, or 2nd Class Division 1, or division 1 honours, or an equivalent or higher qualification,

• or submitted other evidence of general and professional qualifications that demonstrates potential to pursue graduate research studies.

Selection process

- Demonstrated experience in both chemistry and biology.

- Prior experience working with coral would be desirable.

- Proven ability to work autonomously and adept problem-solving skills.

- Strong written and verbal communication skills.

- Demonstrated ability to learn fast, work independently and as part of the team.

- High level of motivation and enthusiasm.

- Willingness and potential to engage in fieldwork, including the possibility of obtaining a scuba diving license if not already possessed.

- Ability to commence studies by August 2024.


Applicants should send their CV and list of publications to contact person’s email address by the closing date.The application process is currently open and will continue to be open until all positions have been filled. We highly encourage interested candidates to apply as soon as possible. Shortlisted candidates will be advised with further details.

For further Information on application essentials please visit UTS Graduate Research applications.

Not eligible for this scholarship ?

We also offer a number of other fully funded scholarships, studentships and awards at university, faculty and department level to support both Domestic and Overseas students

For more information, visit UTS Science Faculty Research Projects or search in UTS Scholarship search tool to find out what you may be eligible for.

Biological Sciences (4) Chemistry (6) Engineering (12) Environmental Sciences (13) Physics (29)

Funding Notes

Stipend Value
$37000 per year and additional funds ($7.5k) during the course of the PhD for PhD-related expenses.
3.5 years

Register your interest for this project