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Understanding resistance and tolerance to chytrid fungal disease in amphibians to improve conservation

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Laura Grogan
    Dr David Newell
    Prof H McCallum
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

This PhD project will involve working with captive animals (endangered Fleay’s barred frogs and tadpoles) to understand host responses to infection and mechanisms of resistance and tolerance to the devastating fungal disease, frog chytridiomycosis. There will be opportunities for fieldwork and modelling as well.

Wildlife are in peril. Chytridiomycosis (caused by aquatic fungal agent Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) is the most devastating disease threat to vertebrate biodiversity ever recorded. It has caused the decline and extinction of hundreds of frog species around the world.

The Frog Research Team in eastern Australia (https://www.frogresearch.com/) has a PhD opportunity available for a highly motivated applicant to study frog chytrid fungal disease (3 year PhD) at Southern Cross University.

View our PhD flyer here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hg5QqwanEHvOTyRWJObkz50MaX5Bd00D/view?usp=sharing

The project aims to investigate mechanisms by which frogs can either resist or tolerate chytrid fungal infections, to help with population and species recovery.

You will have the opportunity to make a direct conservation impact by working with endangered frog species of eastern Australia. You will be working with endangered Fleay’s barred frogs (Mixophyes fleayi) in the lab. You will also have the opportunity to do fieldwork and develop modelling skills.

*** FUNDING ***

The project is funded by an Australian Research Council grant, and the NSW Government’s Saving Sour Species program. PhD scholars will be supervised by Dr. David Newell (from Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW, Australia), and Dr. Laura Grogan and Prof. Hamish McCallum (from Griffith University, Nathan, QLD, Australia), among others.

Applicants will need to obtain a living allowance scholarship (AU$27,596 per annum) to undertake a PhD with us, via application for the competitive Southern Cross University Postgraduate Research Scholarship. The application requires a written project proposal (to be discussed with potential supervisors well in advance of the application). Deadline for expressions of interest is 23rd September 2019.

*** ELIGIBILITY ***

To be eligible and competitive for a Griffith University Postgraduate Research Scholarship you need to have First Class Honours or equivalent.

*** TO APPLY ***

To apply, submit a CV to Dr. David Newell ([Email Address Removed]) with the subject line “PhD application” by 23rd September, 2019.

*** SITUATION ***

Our research team is situated on the sunny subtropical east coast of Australia. For more information about the research team, please visit:

https://www.frogresearch.com/

You can find a flyer for this PhD opportunity here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hg5QqwanEHvOTyRWJObkz50MaX5Bd00D/view?usp=sharing

Keywords: disease, wildlife, conservation, ecology, epidemiology, chytridiomycosis, frogs, anurans, anuran, amphibian, amphibians, mark-recapture, multi-state, modelling, disease ecology, wildlife disease, declines, extinction, population declines, chytrid fungus, Australia, Southern Hemisphere, Queensland, Brisbane, Nathan, Northern Rivers, New South Wales, QLD, NSW, Lismore, Southern Cross University, Griffith University, EFRI, Environmental Futures, laboratory, experiment, recovery, resistance, tolerance, epidemic, pandemic, endemic, wild, wild animal, herpetology, frog, rainforest, stream, mesocosm, field, field work, lab, captive, animal, animals

Funding Notes

Applicants will need to obtain a living allowance scholarship (AU$27,596 per annum) to undertake a PhD with us, via application for the competitive Southern Cross University Postgraduate Research Scholarship. The application requires a written project proposal (to be discussed with potential supervisors well in advance of the application). The application requires a written project proposal (to be discussed with potential supervisors well in advance of the application). Deadline for expressions of interest is 23rd September 2019.

References

*** SOME OF OUR RECENT RELEVANT PUBLICATIONS ***
Martin, L. B., Addison, B., Bean, A. G. D., Buchanan, K. L., Crino, O. L., Eastwood, J. R., Flies, A. S., Hamede, R., Hill, G. E., Klaassen, M., Koch, R. E., Martens, J. M., Napolitano, C., Narayan, E. J., Peacock, L., Peel, A. J., Peters, A., Raven, N., Risely, A., Roast, M. J., Rollins, L. A., Ruiz-Aravena, M., Selechnik, D., Stokes, H. S., Ujvari, B., Grogan, L. F. (accepted 14 Dec, 2018) Extreme competence: keystone hosts of infections. Trends in Ecology and Evolution (IF 15.938).

Grogan, L. F., Robert, J., Berger, L., Skerratt, L. F., Scheele, B. C., Castley, J. G., Newell, D. A., McCallum, H. I. (2018) Review of the amphibian immune response to chytridiomycosis, and future directions. Frontiers in Immunology, 9:2536, doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2018.02536 (link) (IF 5.511).

Grogan, L. F., Skerratt, L. F., Berger, L., Cashins, S. D., Trengove, R. D., Gummer, J. P. A. (2018) Chytridiomycosis causes catastrophic organism-wide metabolic dysregulation including profound failure of cellular energy pathways. Scientific Reports, 8:8188, doi:10.1038/s41598-018-26427-z (link) (IF 4.122).

Grogan, L. F., Cashins, S. D., Skerratt, L. F., Berger, L., McFadden, M. S., Harlow, P., Hunter, D. A., Scheele, B. C., Mulvenna, J. (2018) Evolution of resistance to chytridiomycosis is associated with a robust early immune response. Molecular Ecology, doi:10.1111/MEC.14493 (link) (IF 6.131).

​​Grogan, L. F., Mulvenna, J., Gummer, J. P. A., Scheele, B. C., Berger, L., Cashins, S. D., McFadden, M. S., Harlow, P., Hunter, D. A., Trengove, R. D., Skerratt, L. F. (2018) Survival, gene and metabolite responses of Litoria verreauxii alpina frogs to fungal disease chytridiomycosis. Scientific Data, doi:10.1038/sdata.2018.33 (link) (IF 5.305).

Grogan, L. F., Peel, A. J., Kerlin, D., Ellis, W., Jones, D., Hero, J.-M., McCallum, H. (2018) Is disease a major causal factor in declines? An evidence framework and case study on koala chlamydiosis. Biological Conservation 221:334-344 (link) (IF 4.660).

Martel, A., Pasmans, F., Fisher, M.C., Grogan, L.F., Skerratt, L.F., Berger, L. (2018) Chytridiomycosis, in Seyedmousavi, de Hoog, Guillot, and Verweij (editors) Emerging and Epizootic Fungal Infections in Animals. Springer publishing, Switzerland (link) (BOOK CHAPTER).



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