PhD Student - Role of Species Interactions in Adaptation to Warming - Manaaki Whenua

Updated: 11 days ago
Deadline: 31 Mar 2021

We are looking for an enthusiastic full-time candidate to fill the position of a PhD student at Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research.

About the opportunity

Project description: Widespread concern over species losses due to warming has led to a surge in ecological research focused on species' responses to anticipated increases in temperature. While modelling studies predict that many species will perish as a result, many predictions have not materialised. This project explores how species interactions and adaptation to abiotic factors may help a species persist under warming. This project will focus on analysing competition and coexistence dynamics in natural and synthetic nectar microbial communities using both theoretical and experimental approaches. We have a robust high-throughput empirical system as well as a model developed for this microbial system that the PhD candidate will be able to utilise in their study.

A three-year PhD scholarship, funded by the New Zealand Royal Society Marsden Fund, is available with Dr Manpreet Dhami (Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research) and Prof Thomas Buckley (University of Auckland). The project is a collaboration with Prof Dmitri Petrov (Stanford University), Dr Andrew Letten (University of Queensland) and Dr Oren Kolodny (Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Science) and the candidate will have an opportunity to train with the collaborators. The scholarship consists of a stipend of NZ$27,500 per annum tax-free and covers University of Auckland PhD fees. The scholarship is open to all eligible students currently in New Zealand, and NZ citizens and residents currently overseas and willing to return to New Zealand. We also encourage highly motivated international students to apply.  New Zealand borders are currently closed to non-residents, but an off-campus start to the project could be negotiated and a back-dated stipend paid upon arrival in New Zealand.

This position is full time, reporting to Manpreet Dhami and Thomas Buckley and based at our Lincoln site.

About you

Applicants for this project should hold, or be undertaking, an MSc or BSc honours degree in ecology, evolutionary biology, statistics, biomathematics, genetics, microbiology, plant sciences or closely related fields. Prerequisite qualifications for enrolment at the University of Auckland (see ) would need to be fulfilled - see English Language proficiency requirements and GPE of 7 or above (see  for a grade conversion calculator). Applicants must be willing to work in an integrated multidisciplinary research project, and to engage in a range of research activities including field and laboratory work as well as advanced mathematical modelling and statistics. Strong interest in microbial ecology is desirable. Experience with microscopy, molecular work, field work, or high-throughput sequence analyses is a plus.

Why Manaaki Whenua

Our land, our future - this is the essence of why Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research exists. At Manaaki Whenua we undertake research that focuses on preserving New Zealand's rich biodiversity, improving biosecurity, and protecting the health of the land, fresh water and soil resources we need for a prosperous future. We recognise the importance of partnerships, the special role of Māori, and the need to ensure that all New Zealanders have the knowledge, understanding, and tools to truly live in harmony with our precious environment. We are recognised nationally and internationally for the quality of our research and work with a wide range of organisations within New Zealand and globally.

Manaaki Whenua embraces diversity and is committed to an inclusive and respectful workplace where everyone is valued for their unique contribution. We are an Equal Opportunity Employer and do not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of colour, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, or age.

How to apply

Interested applicants should contact Manpreet Dhami ( for further information. All applications must be made on-line. Please ensure you include a CV together with transcripts, calculated GPE, and a cover letter explaining

  • your motivation for pursuing a PhD and
  • any career goals you might have for the next 5-10 years, and the names of two potential referees, in your online application below.

For further details about Manaaki Whenua-Landcare Research, watch this short clip: Manaaki Whenua and visit our website:

Apply online by viewing the position description and then clicking the 'Apply Now' button below.

Applications close on Wednesday 31 March 2021 at 5pm NZT

Only applications submitted through our Careers website will be considered.

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