mardi 7 février 2017

PhD scholarship, Australia !

Prenatal acoustic communication
& 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:
The Research Environment: The PhD student will be based in the Centre for Integrative Ecology (CIE: at Deakin University’s Geelong campus. This is 50 minutes from the Melbourne CBD and 20 minutes from Bells Beach and the Great Ocean Road. Deakin hosts one of the largest ornithological research groups in the southern hemisphere, and in the recent ARC Research Assessment exercise received the highest possible rating (of 5) in Zoology. Excellent facilities are available including new aviary facilities, modern lab and offices, well equipped 4WDs for fieldwork, excellent statistical support and established sites for fieldwork on zebra finches. The CIE has over 60 postdoctoral researchers and PhD students, many from overseas; we have multiple weekly seminars and paper discussion sessions, and the research group has 6+ postdocs and regular lab group meetings fostering a lively research culture. We strongly encourage PhD students to present at national and international conferences, and Deakin provides over $3000 for international conference attendance for each PhD. !

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.

Selection will be based on academic merit and prior experience. !

Application deadline is 28th February 2017. For further information or to apply contact Mylene Mariette ( To apply, please send a statement of your interest in the project, a detailed CV and contact details for two referees