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


Project Description

Wildlife are in peril. Chytridiomycosis (caused by aquatic fungal agent Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) is the most devastating disease threat to biodiversity ever recorded. It has caused the decline and extinction of hundreds of frog species around the world. This project investigates the population and infection dynamics of chytrid fungal disease in frogs. It aims to discover mechanisms by which frogs can either resist or tolerate chytrid 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) both in the field and the lab. You will also have the opportunity to develop modelling skills.

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).

You can find details of this PhD opportunity here: https://www.frogresearch.com/doctor-of-philosophy

*** FUNDING AND ELIGIBILITY ***
Applicants will need to obtain a living stipend (AU$27,082 pa) to undertake a PhD with us, via application for the competitive Griffith University International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (https://www.griffith.edu.au/research-study/scholarships/guiprs). The application requires a written project proposal (to be discussed with potential supervisors well in advance of the application). Applications are considered by the Griffith Graduate Research School throughout the year, but there is an ’Annual round’ that closes around beginning October each year).

To be eligible and competitive for a Griffith University Postgraduate Research Scholarship you need to have First Class Honours or equivalent (i.e. Level 8 or above in the Australian Qualifications Framework), and a minimum of one first-authored peer-reviewed scientific publication in a journal of international standing.

The project is funded by an Australian Research Council grant, and the PhD scholars will be supervised by Prof. McCallum and Dr. Laura Grogan (from Griffith University, Nathan, Queensland, Australia), and Dr. David Newell (from Southern Cross University in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales, Australia), among others.

Prof. McCallum is a leading international disease ecologist, and his research team studies a range of important wildlife diseases.

*** TO APPLY ***
To apply, submit a CV and one-page statement of your research interests to Dr. Laura Grogan with the subject line “PhD application” at least one month prior to when you intend to submit your scholarship and PhD application through Griffith University.

*** SITUATION ***
Griffith University is situated in sunny subtropical Brisbane in the state of Queensland, on the east coast of Australia. For more information about the research team, please visit:

https://www.frogresearch.com/
http://www.mccallum-disease-ecology.com
http://www.lauragrogan-research.com

For information about the Environmental Futures Research Institute (EFRI), and Griffith University please visit:

http://www.griffith.edu.au/environmental-futures-research-institute
http://www.griffith.edu.au

For information about the location, please visit:

http://www.visitbrisbane.com.au
http://www.queensland.com
http://www.australia.com/en

You can find a flyer for this PhD opportunity here: https://www.frogresearch.com/doctor-of-philosophy

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 stipend (AU$27,082 pa) to undertake a PhD with us, via application for the competitive Griffith University International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (View Website).

To be eligible and competitive for a Griffith University Postgraduate Research Scholarship you need to have First Class Honours or equivalent (i.e. Level 8 or above in the Australian Qualifications Framework), and a minimum of one first-authored peer-reviewed scientific publication in a journal of international standing.

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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