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Will rising CO2 concentrations save plants from drought stress? Plant ecophysiological responses in a Free Air CO2 Enrichment experiment

Project Description

This project presents a rare opportunity to work in one of the world’s few Free Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) experiments, a cutting-edge global change manipulation experiment, located in southern Tasmania, Australia. The rising concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere should stimulate plant growth, particularly in areas that suffer from periodic water shortage, but often this doesn’t occur. Our inability to explain the reasons for this lack of response prevents us from predicting global carbon balances and future agricultural productivity. This project will involve measurements in a cutting-edge global change field experiment to close this knowledge gap by examining plant growth responses to elevated CO2 during repeated drought cycles. In particular, the candidate will aim to identify the mechanisms and timescales over which past water and nutrient availability affect photosynthesis and growth responses to CO2 in grasslands, which is crucial for improving models of future plant growth and land-atmosphere interactions.

This project is fully funded by the Australian Research Council. The successful candidate will be based in the School of Natural Sciences at the University of Tasmania and jointly supervised by A/Prof. Mark Hovenden (University of Tasmania) and Dr Martin De Kauwe (University of New South Wales).

The following eligibility criteria apply to this project:
The scholarship is open to Australian and New Zealand (domestic) candidates and to International candidates
Research must be undertaken on a full-time basis
Applicants must already have been awarded a first-class Honours degree in plant science, ecology or agricultural science or hold equivalent qualifications or relevant and substantial research experience in an appropriate sector
Applicants must be able to demonstrate strong research and analytical skills
Current vehicle drivers license

Applicants from the following disciplines are eligible to apply:
Plant Science
Environmental Science
Agricultural Science
Applicants with the following skills and experience will be very highly regarded:
Experience with plant physiological measurements such as gas exchange, water or nutrient relations
Experience in making repetitive measurements in a field setting

Funding Notes

A full living allowance of $27.596 p.a. (2019 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years will be provided to the successful candidate with additional assistance for relocation costs. Exceptional candidates are eligible for a $5,000 p.a. top-up scholarship. All project costs are covered by the project and the successful candidate will be assisted to attend at least one international conference during the period of their candidature.

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