Mapping Crustose Calcifying Red Algae Communities PhD Scholarship

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Mapping Crustose Calcifying Red Algae Communities PhD Scholarship


Applications will be accepted until 4pm on Sunday 19/05/2019.

The project will involve an integrated approach to investigate reef structure and diversity on Guam, USA, by combining three-dimensional modeling, hyperspectral imaging, automated annotation, and molecular techniques.

Contrary to many benthic macroinvertebrates and fleshy macroalgae, crustose calcifying red algae (CCRA) are often overlooked by ecologists and their communities are largely unknown. CCRA are notoriously difficult to distinguish even at family or genus level, so they are often grouped together during benthic surveys. However, DNA-based identification has been shown to improve the accuracy and efficiency of classification of CCRA taxa, as well as examine their diversity, distribution, and ecological roles. This project aims to use DNA-based identification to identify CCRA specimens to the highest possible taxonomic resolution, and then use these identifications when annotating the benthic communities. The goal is to then employ the image classification pipeline, corroborated by DNA-based identification, to automatically identify CCRA communities with both high taxonomic accuracy and resolution.

For more information you can contact Dr Javier Leon, .

• Domestic/ International HDR student
• Accepted for admission to the USC PhD Program (if not a current student, the application for admission to the PhD program and the application for the scholarship can be submitted simultaneously)
• Bachelor’s Degree with First Class Honours or equivalent previous study, relevant work experience, research publications, or other research experience
• Not hold a PhD
• Not have previously held a Commonwealth-funded postgraduate research scholarship unless it was terminated within six months of the current scholarship’s payments commencing
• Not be the recipient of an equivalent award, scholarship, or salary, providing a benefit greater than 75 percent of the Research Training Program rate to undertake a HDR. Income unrelated to the course of study is not to be taken into account
• Satisfactory progress must be maintained throughout the PhD program
Selection criteria
• Minimum academic qualifications as outlined in the USC HDR Candidature – Procedures eligibility requirements for PhD program admission
• Alignment of the proposed research to one of USC’s areas of research concentration
• Record of research publications
• Professional research experience
Eligible programs
Number available
  • $30,000 annual stipend
  • [For International students] - Tuition fees and Overseas Student Health Cover (single cover)
To apply:
  • If not a current USC PhD student, complete an application for admission to the PhD program following the directions on the HDR Applicants page.
  • Apply for the scholarship:
    • Complete the HDR Scholarship Application & Response to Selection Criteria
    • Provide any additional documentation the demonstrates your research capabilities and experience
    • Submit to the Graduate Research Studies Management Office via 
    • Additional information on the scholarship application process can be found on the Applying for a HDR Scholarship page.
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