2024 Scholarship. Exploring faunal ancient DNA in South-Western Australia

Updated: 23 days ago

Status: Open

Applications open: 13/02/2024
Applications close: 31/03/2024

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About this scholarship

South-western Australia (SWA) is one of two global biodiversity hotspots on the Australian continent. It is home to internationally iconic species, and environments that are ecologically and culturally unique. However, compared to similar environments elsewhere, its environmental history is under-researched. This project will use cutting-edge aDNA techniques to explore changes in mammalian and reptilian biodiversity across modern, colonial and pre-colonial periods.

Aims and objectives:

This project will apply cutting-edge ancient DNA technology to:

1)      Investigate species composition and genetic diversity through time using metabarcoding and bulk bone sequencing of mammalian and reptile remains in cave deposits.

2)      Analyse museum and sub-fossil specimens to validate recent morphology-based taxonomic reviews in key Australian marsupials.

3)      Gain an understanding of recent anthropogenic impacts of the vertebrate fauna in southwestern Australia


This project

Applies ancient DNA technology to gain a better understanding of our unique environments in the biodiversity hotspot of southwestern Australia. The project will produce unique ecological and taxonomic insights and provide important baselines for predicting biodiversity impacts and risks in the future.

  • Future Students

  • Faculty of Science & Engineering
    • Science courses

  • Higher Degree by Research

  • Australian Citizen
  • Australian Permanent Resident
  • New Zealand Citizen
  • Permanent Humanitarian Visa
  • International Student

  • Merit Based

The successful candidate will receive a stipend of $35,000.00 per annum pro rata (tax free), this amount will be indexed annually. 

The duration of the award shall be for three years with a possible extension of up to six months (maximum), assessed on a case-by case basis.

In addition, this scholarship will include a tuition fee waiver for a successful international candidate.

Scholarship Details


A background in environmental, chemical or biological sciences. Educational or research experience in molecular genetic techniques (DNA extractions, PCR, population genetics) will be valued. Evidence of laboratory work and attention to detail preferred.

Applicants should meet the standard requirements for HDR entry to Curtin, and should hold an Honours or Masters degree with an average equivalent to a 2.1 honours ranking. Taught / coursework based masters degrees should contain a minimum 25% research component.

This scholarship is open to both domestic (AU/NZ) and international applicants.

Application process

If this project excites you, and your research skills and experience are a good fit for this specific project, you should contact the Project Lead (listed below in the enquires section) via the Expression of Interest (EOI) form.

Enrolment Requirements

Recipients must complete their milestone 1 within 6 month of enrolment and remain enrolled on a full-time basis for the duration of the scholarship.


To enquire about this project opportunity that includes a scholarship application, contact the Project lead Prof Morten Allentoft, via the EOI form above.

Further Information

Eligible to enrol in a Higher Degree by Research Course at Curtin University

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