HDR Scholarship - Population dynamics of shorebirds in peril

Applications now open. A PhD scholarship is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Population dynamics of shorebirds in peril'.

Project Supervisor


Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus

Research topic

Among all long-distance migratory birds, the ~8M shorebirds along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway have notably been hit hard by global change, with population declines up to 80%. The ARC funded Discovery Project “Are pollutants and emerging diseases endangering a global migratory flyway?” investigates the role of chemical pollution on disease susceptibility and survival in these shorebirds.
This will be done by using an extensive collection of blood and virus samples obtained from a wide range of shorebird species while they were spending the non-breeding season in Australia over the past nine years, along with 40 years of banding and re-sighting data (more than 500,000 observations).
The research project as a whole, which is a collaboration between Deakin University, Peter Doherty Institute (viruses), Norwegian University of Science and Technology (pollutants), Victorian Wader Study Group (banding) and Australasian Wader Studies Group (banding), aims to provide essential data for developing mitigation strategies to help curb the populations’ demise, while simultaneously informing on the effects of pollution on the role of migrants in disease spread.

This research is partially funded by the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council.

Project aim

This HDR project will focus on analysing the banding and resighting data provided by Victorian Wader Study Group (VWSG) and Australasian Wader Studies Group (AWSG) with the specific aim of extracting annual recruitment and annual survival data for a number of key species. In a next step, these annual variations as well as species-specific differences in recruitment and survival will be linked to a range of global change processes including climate change, pollution and habitat destruction.

Important dates

Applications will remain open until a suitable candidate has been found


This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • Stipend of $28,106 per annum tax exempt (2020 rate)
  • International students only:  Tuition fees offset for the duration of 4 years. Single Overseas Student Health Cover policy for the duration of the student visa.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be either a domestic or international candidate (domestic includes candidates with Australian Citizenship, Australian Permanent Residency or New Zealand Citizenship).
  • meet Deakin's PhD entry requirements
  • be enrolling full time and hold an honours degree (first class) or an equivalent standard master's degree with a substantial research component.

Please refer to the research degree entry pathways page for further information.

Additional desirable criteria include:

  • Must have very strong computer skills, strong statistical skills and some R experience.

How to apply

Please apply using the expression of interest form.


Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact Prof. Marcel Klaassen

Prof. Marcel Klaassen
Alfred Deakin Professor and Chair in Ecology
Email Marcel Klaassen
+61 3 522 72464