We are currently looking for HDR PhD students for 7 specific projects:
1) Effective biodiversity behaviour change across supply chains
Work with project partner Zoos Victoria on a sustainable coffee engagement project, designing interventions, collaborating with coffee industry partners, and evaluating intervention outcomes. This research has fieldwork funding associated with it and the PhD student will be part of a research team examining coffee production globally and consumption locally. Ideally the candidate with have familiarity with psychology or behaviour change, quantitative and qualitative skills and an interest in coffee.
2) Message framing for improved biodiversity conservation
How we say things can be as important as what we say when trying to change behaviours that affect biodiversity conservation. We have numerous partners from state and federal government agencies and non-government organisation interested in exploring the topic of communication and message framing in various contexts including: building the social licence for conservation, improving participation in private land conservation programs, fire risk and biodiversity management and feral species control.
3) Onsets not offsets for real biodiversity gains
Work with us on an ARC Discovery project investigating an alternative approach to biodiversity offsetting that delivers positive on-site benefits to biodiversity and industry. By requiring proponents to demonstrate how they will retain, protect, restore and improve biodiversity on their site, onsetting will drive creative thinking and much-needed innovation within industry. Two case studies will demonstrate the broader benefits to society, including housing developments that are more liveable and resilient to climate change and agriculture that will support more biodiversity which underpins ongoing food security.
Interested in maintaining and encouraging more biodiversity into the cities? We have an established research program looking at social and ecological factors involved with urban greening, that specifically focuses on how people perceive different types of green spaces in cities, unpacking the elements of ‘green’ in green space design and delving into city floral visitor networks (like native bees!). The PhD will be using existing datasets as a starting point to delve deeper into one of more of these topics, although will also be responsible for design and implementation of further data collection. Ideally, the candidate will either know or have enthusiasm to learn quantitative skills or be open to tackling the research in a more qualitative way.
5) Understanding the synergies and trade-offs between conservation and ecosystem service supply and demand in rural and urban areas
There has been significant progress in understanding how we value and measure ecosystem services. However, much of this work has been focused on the supply of services, with a less research on understanding the dynamics of the demand for services. In addition, more work is needed to properly understand the likely synergies and tradeoffs that may occur between prioritizing ecosystem services and biodiversity conservation. This project will focus on one or more case studies in Australia, collating socio-economic, environmental and biological data in rural and urban contexts. This will allow an examination of how the supply and demand profile of ecosystem services varies between urban and rural contexts, both spatially and through time. This data will then be used to examine the conservation implications for prioritizing areas for ecosystem services. The project will require extensive use of modelling with spatial data, and will provide valuable information for allocating land uses as cities grow.
6) Biodiversity sensitive urban design (BSUD)
We work with government agencies, certification bodies, non-government organisations and urban developers to improve urban design in cities to enhance biodiversity within the urban fabric. PhD projects could focus on the intersection of architecture and BSUD, the measurement of biodiversity outcomes, urban design that enhances connectivity for target species or techniques for engaging stakeholders in setting compelling biodiversity objectives.
7) Human-wildlife conflicts in urban landscapes
We conserve wildlife both for its value to society (usefulness to provide ecosystem services) and for its own intrinsic value (its beauty and right to exist as part of the natural world). However, wildlife can transmit disease, cause property damage and attack humans especially in urban landscapes often with high population densities. As both urban areas and population increase over time, this could get worse. If we want to co-exist with wildlife, these risks should be managed or else there could be widespread societal resistance. Understanding the drivers, types, and spatial and temporal trends of conflicts will help to develop strategies to minimise those risks. This project involves quantitative evidence synthesis, spatial statistics, and modelling to understand conflicts in urban landscapes. Ideally, this is suited for someone who has or is interested to learn quantitative skills.