& developmental programming
with Dr Mylene Mariette & Prof Kate Buchanan
Deakin University, Centre for Integrative Ecology
We are seeking an outstanding, highly motivated PhD candidate with an interest in avian physiology to work on the ARC funded research project “The role of prenatal communication in adaptation to hot climate”. We recently discovered that zebra finch parents warn their embryos about hot weather, and that this acoustic signal adaptively prepares offspring for growing in a hot environment. This work was published in Science this year (Mariette & Buchanan 2016) and featured in international media (The ABC Science Show, BBC, the Parisian, New York Times). Check out the video on Facebook or You Tube “Zebra finch parents tell eggs: it´s hot outside”.
The aim of this PhD project is to explore the physiological mechanisms underlying the developmental effects we observed, and assess the significance of this strategy in the wild. The PhD student will be in a vibrant and productive research team on avian ecology and evolution. He/she will test the role of prenatal acoustic exposure on growth, metabolism, heat resistance and endocrinology. The student will conduct endocrine and physiological assays, behavioural observations, and bioacoustics analyses in captivity and in the wild.
Start date June 2017
Stipend: AUD26,000 p.a. (tax exempt) for 3 years (for overseas students, waivers to overseas tuition fee are potentially available)
PhD Project content: The student will join a productive team funded by the Australian Research Council, in the vibrant Centre for Integrative Ecology directed by Marcel Klaassen. The student will have responsibility for carrying out physiological measurements and endocrine assays, as well as behavioural observations, breeding monitoring, playback experiments, and analyses of bird vocalisations, after receiving training in all these aspects. Although the PhD project has clear aims to meet the ARC project objectives, we welcome applicants who would want to develop their own interestsand find their own individual niche within the project.
For further description of the research group & recent relevant publications, please see:
Who should apply? The project would suit a highly motivated and able student with strong interests in avian physiology, behavior, evolution and ecology. Essential requirements include: Masters or first class honours (or equivalent in a relevant field); high levels of enthusiasm & motivation; statistical knowledge; excellent written communication skills; and an ability to work independently and as part of an interdisciplinary team. After training, the student needs to be able to take on the collection and analyses of physiological & hormonal measurements. Applicants with experience in this field will be favoured; Experience with field work and/or bioacoustics is desirable but not essential.