Adaptation to emerging fungal diseases in nature - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Accessibility links

Adaptation to emerging fungal diseases in nature

Applications will be accepted until 18th October 2020.

Emerging infectious fungal diseases (EIFDs) are devastating and pose a serious threat to the conservation of global biodiversity. We know that EIFDs are responsible for some of the most severe host mass mortality events in wild populations. Textbook examples include chytrid fungus, which has now infected over 500 species of amphibians in 54 countries, driving the extinction of 90 species worldwide, and white-nose syndrome, which, has resulted in a devastating 75% population decline across bats in Canada and the USA. Whilst EIFDs make up less than three percent of infectious disease agents reported amongst animal hosts, they are nonetheless responsible for over 70 percent of disease-driven population declines and extinctions. This project will use a decade long behavioural and genetic study system collected on the eastern water dragon to explore the role of behaviour in the spread of fungal pathogen. In 2013, eastern water dragons at our study site became infected with a new emerging fungal disease, Genus Nannazziopsis. This provides us with a unique empirical system to investigate two important behaviour: social behaviour and thermoregulation.

Scholarship 1 will specifically tackle how EIFDs affect animal social behaviour and how animal social behaviour contributes to the spread of EIFDs.

Scholarship 2 will specifically tackle how EIFDs affect animal thermoregulation behaviour and how it contributes to mitigating the spread of EIFDs.

The applicants will need a strong work ethic, welcome diversity and be willing to work within a team.

For further information on the projects, please contact Associate Professor Celine Frere in the School of Science and Engineering,

• Be accepted into a Higher Degrees by Research program at the University of the Sunshine Coast
• Not have an equivalent qualification to the one for which they are currently applying
• Have a First-Class Bachelor Honours Degree, or show equivalent level of achievement with other academic qualifications or professional research experience
• Applications are welcome from both Domestic and International students
Selection criteria
• Undergraduate degree
• Research training degree (First Class Honours or equivalent)
• Research publications
• Professional research experience
Eligible programs
Number available
  • Annual stipend equivalent to the Research Training Program. Stipend value in 2020 is $28,092.
  • Annual tuition fees: $29,000
  • Overseas student health cover (single cover): $3,420
  • One project will receive $15,000 in project operating funds
To apply:
  • If you are not a current USC HDR student, complete an application for program admission following the directions on the HDR Applicants page
  • Next, apply for the scholarship: