Student Opportunities

PhD Project: Antimicrobial resistance burden in migratory and resident bird species in the northern Adelaide coastal zone, University of South Australia

A scholarship opportunity exists for a PhD student to undertake research into the microbiome and resistance profiles of resident and migratory bird species in the northern Adelaide coastal zone. The Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary National Park provides a key feeding and roosting site for tens of thousands of birds who migrate annually along the East-Asian Australasian flyway. Data will be collected to investigate correlations between local habitat and water quality and bird health. The role of birds in harboring and transporting antimicrobial resistant bacteria and genes to/from natural wetlands and human impacted habitats such as wastewater treatment lagoons will also be assessed. The project will have close links with SA Water and SA EPA.

This scholarship is a thematically-badged living stipend for domestic students valued at $27,596 per annum.

Further information can be found here or at

For all enquiries please contact: Assoc. Prof. Erica Donner Email:
Phone: (08) 8302 3624

PhD Scholarship in Ecotoxicology, Griffith University

The Australian Rivers Institute and Griffith Sciences is seeking a strong and independent PhD student in the field of environmental toxicology. The candidate will work with Dr Chantal Lanctôt on research related to her Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) project “Metal toxicokinetics and toxicodynamics in developing anurans: how metamorphosis influences metal burdens”, in collaboration with Dr William Bennett (Griffith) and Dr Tom Cresswell (ANSTO).

The project explores mechanisms and consequences of contaminant exposures in organisms with complex life cycles (amphibians or other species), and the dynamic nature of toxicity risk associated with changing environmental conditions.

The successful PhD candidate will gain experience in ecotoxicology, animal physiology and environmental chemistry, and have opportunities to apply advanced analytical and imaging techniques such as Inductively Coupled Plasma – Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS), synchrotron-based Xray fluorescence microscopy and radiotracing techniques. Opportunities to conduct studies for short periods at ANSTO are available. Post-graduate top-up scholarships are available through the Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering ( for students interested in conducting studies at ANSTO as part of this collaborative opportunity.

The project will begin in early 2019.

Further information is available at:

For all enquiries please contact: Dr Chantal Lanctôt (;
07 5552 7813

PhD Scholarship in Ecotoxicology, Curtin University

Overview: The Curtin Ecotoxicology group has extensive expertise researching the impacts of oil and gas activities on the marine environment, which includes the development of environmentally acceptable drilling muds, the impacts of produced formation water discharge on marine fish, and the impacts and recovery of commercially important fish following oil spills. A parallel research program investigates the impacts of urban contamination on fish health using biochemical and molecular markers. The research translates into improved management practices to prevent or limit contamination of the environment.

Aims: The aim of the research project is to contribute to the development of a biomarker toolbox for the oil and gas industry. The exact nature of the research will depends on the candidate’s previous experience with biochemical markers and molecular techniques applicable to fish health.

Further information is available at

For all enquiries, please contact Assoc. Prof. Marthe Monique Gagnon (; 08 9266 3723

PhD Project: NORM scale in the ocean: Assessing radiological and ecotoxicological effects on aquatic organisms, ANSTO

A PhD top up scholarship is available at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) in southern Sydney for a potential PhD student affiliated with a partner university.

Successful decommissioning of subsea oil and gas infrastructure requires an effective and safe approach of assessing and managing radiological residues. Scale residues frequently accumulate on the interior surfaces of pipes and other structures, and may persist long after extraction operations have ceased. Within such scale materials are a range of metal contaminants, as well as naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM), dominated by the U-238 and Th-232 decay series. On older, uncleaned pipes, the resulting accumulation of scale can be substantial enough to reduce the internal diameter of a typical pipe by >20%.

The project will provide for a more valid assessment of the risk posed by NORM scale to aquatic organisms as compared with current methods which rely on default/reference parameters which may greatly misinterpret the risk. It is intended that this will enable improved strategies to be developed and potentially implemented, creating large cost-saving for both industry and government, whilst demonstrating environmental protection (stakeholder acceptance). Specifically, the project will address a critical step in achieving this goal: developing a data set of bioaccumulation (transfer) and organ distribution of NORM within pipe scale to bottom-dwelling (benthic) organisms from oil and gas distribution lines under several scenarios of pipe usage.

Please see the project outline for more details of the project.

For further information, please contact Dr. Tom Cresswell (; (02) 9717 9412.