New Zealand has an expanding eucalypt forestry industry with a focus on sustainable production of naturally durable timber that does not require chemical treatment for in-ground use. As insect pests of eucalypts continue to arrive from Australia it is essential to manage the risks they pose.
The School of Forestry at the University of Canterbury is offering a 3 year PhD project to assess the potential impacts of the most recently established eucalypt pest beetle, Paropsisterna varricollis (EVB), including biological control options for its control. EVB is closely related to another long established beetle Paropsis charybdis, which causes significant eucalypt damage and has been the focus of several previous biocontrol programmes. The research focus of the project might include:
• Evaluating EVB susceptibility to parasitoids introduced against Paropsis charybdis
• Investigating new options for biological control
• Assessing feeding and oviposition preferences for eucalypt genotypes in the lab and field
• Evaluating regional variation in lifecycle dynamics and pest impacts throughout the beetle’s current and predicted range
• Understanding interactions between the increasing number of pest beetles and natural enemies established in New Zealand
The ideal applicant will have a GPA of 7.0 (A-) or higher, a four-year bachelor degree with first class honours or a Master’s degree in an entomology, ecology, pest science or related field. Candidates must have a valid driver’s licence and be willing to undertake both field and lab work.
The scholarship is available from 1 July 2018 (start date negotiable). Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.
Applications must include:
• A full Curriculum Vitae, INCLUDING your University transcript (i.e. list of grades).
• The names of at least two people who can act as referees.
• A statement of your research interests and when you could begin your PhD research.
• Evidence of English language proficiency. If English is not your first language, international applicants must meet the University’s English language requirements (e.g. IELTS ≥ 6.5; TOEFEL ≥ 90). See http://www.canterbury.ac.nz/admissions/international/english.shtml
The University of Canterbury is located in Christchurch, a small city in the beautiful South Island of New Zealand. The successful applicant will undertake most of their research in Rotorua in the Central North Island where the necessary quarantine facilities are available for biocontrol research. Rotorua is centrally located within just 1-2 hour’s drive of the coasts, native forests and stunning volcanic landscapes.