The role of positive species interactions in maintaining plant community diversity

This Earmarked Scholarship project is aligned with a recently awarded Category 1 research grant. It offers you the opportunity to work with leading researchers and contribute to large projects of national significance.

Supervisor – Professor Margaret Mayfieldm.mayfield@uq.edu.au

Professor Margie Mayfield is seeking a PhD student to join the Mayfield Lab at the University of Queensland to work on an ARC funded project on the generalisable importance of positive species interactions to coexistence outcomes in natural plant communities. This project is funded by an ARC grant awarded to Professor Mayfield at the University of Queensland with international partners: Lauren Shoemaker (University of Wyoming, USA), Lauren Hallett (University of Oregon, USA) and Oscar Godoy (Universidad de Cadiz, Spain).  There are three project elements that the successful candidate will have the opportunity to work on as part of this research team:

  1. the development of models to explore the importance of positive species interactions to accurately predicting coexistence outcomes at local scales and across variable environments;
  2. the use of empirical data to determination if certain types of plant functional traits are more involved in facilitative relationships than others and
  3. an exploration of the generalisable importance of facilitation to coexistence outcomes in three distinct annual plant systems in Western Australia, California and Spain. 

Project elements 2 and 3 involve field work, while project element 1 is computer-based.  The selected student will focus on one or two elements of this larger project, with the focus negotiable. The selected student will have the opportunity to work with all partners on this project but will be based at UQ.

Preferred educational background

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant's previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

A working knowledge of field ecology and  mathematical modelling would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of ecology and statistics and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of R- programming language and coexistence theory is highly desirable.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 2, 2022. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date. International applicants may need to apply much earlier for visa reasons.

Apply now