2 PhD Projects at University of Western Australia: Fisheries ecology and oceanography to inform management of the western rock lobster

The iconic western rock lobster, Panulirus cygnus , supports both a popular recreational fishery and Australia’s most valuable single species commercial fishery. The Western Rock Lobster Council (WRLC) and Fisheries Research Development Corporation have funded the University of Western Australia (UWA) andDepartment of Primary Industries and Regional Development-Fisheries (DPIRD) to investigate an area at the center of the fishery with unusually low lobster abundance.

There are two PhD projects available through the Research Training Program (domestic or international) that will provide a ~$29,000 pa tax free stipend with operating allowance and research expenses covered by the project. The RTP applications at UWA close on the 31/10/2017 at 5pm. Candidates are expected to have a Masters/Honours or equivalent to H1 in marine science, oceanography, engineering, mathematics or a related field.

Two joint projects between UWA, DPIRD-Fisheries and WRLC are currently being offered:
Fisheries/benthic ecology: Western rock lobster have been shown to be habitat specific, and it is thought that a change in habitats may be a cause of the reported reduction in catch rate at the centre of the fishery. A project is proposed to repeat sampling conducted in the region during late 1980’s in the region and investigate linkages to rock lobster life-history dynamics and productivity. Supervisory panel will include: Dr Thomas Wernberg and Dr Tim Langlois of UWA, Professor Graham Edgar of University of Tasmania and Dr Simon de Lestang of the DPIRD-Fisheries.

Oceanography: A project is proposed to conduct a broad-scale assessment of the relationship between water movement and the spatial distribution of post-larval lobster settlement using 40+ years of data ranging spatially between Cape Mentelle and Kalbarri. In addition, a fine-scale assessment of the relationship between water movement and the spatial and temporal variation in post-larval lobster settlement, focussed in the centre of the fishery between Jurien and Dongara, will take advantage of modern finer scale data. Supervisory panel will include: Professor Chari Pattiaratchi and Dr Tim Langlois of UWA, and Dr Simon de Lestang of the DPIRD-Fisheries.

The candidates for these projects will be located in the Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre, where they will work as part of a diverse team of researchers and postgraduate students. A strong academic record, quantitative statistical skills, experience with scientific diving and/or experience with oceanographic modeling will be advantageous for the project. Candidates with skills and experience matching the proposed work will be favoured. Applicants must have excellent spoken and written English skills.

Prospective candidates should send a short CV with two referee contacts and cover letter, briefly outlining their motivations for pursuing either of the PhD research themes. For the fisheries/benthic ecology project contact Dr Tim Langlois ( timothy.langlois@uwa.edu.au ). For the oceanography project contact Prof Chari Pattiaratchi ( chari.pattiaratchi@uwa.edu.au ).

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