The Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment (HIE) is offering two research PhD scholarships to highly motivated candidates to work on a project focussed on the role of rewilding in restoring soil biodiversity and their functions. Australia’s ecosystems are heavily impacted by invasions from introduced carnivores, herbivores and the loss of native vertebrates. The removal of introduced species and reintroduction of native fauna are being implemented as strategies for ecosystem restoration. How this may impact soil communities and their functions is unknown, but is critical as it will determine overall ecosystem function and rewilding success. Rewilding poses unique opportunities to understand these impacts and to explore ecological interactions at a large scale. The overall aim of the project is to assess how the removal and exclusion of introduced fauna, and the rewilding of native mammals alters the soil community and functions across both arid and mesic ecosystems in New South Wales, Australia. The student will be given an opportunity to explore impacts through field observations and experimental manipulations. The student will also have access to extensive monitoring data collected by the program.
The project will be based at the HIE with the opportunity to work closely with the NSW Department of Planning and Environment’s (DPE) National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Restoration Science Team, an expert team of terrestrial ecologists within DPE’s Science Economics and Insights Division. The HIE is a research institute within Western Sydney University that has rapidly become a research leader in soil biodiversity and ecosystem functions and has a strong reputation for delivering high-quality research. The project is co-funded by Western Sydney University and DPE.
For details about the project and application process, please contact Yolima Carrillo (email@example.com).