Restorative Aquaculture - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Restorative Aquaculture

Expressions of Interest for this scholarship are no longer being accepted. Only applications nominated by the Chief Investigators will be considered

Restorative Aquaculture

We have fully funded positions available for two outstanding PhD candidates, who will work towards evaluating the potential of restorative aquaculture to reverse human impacts on coastal marine environments, through the co-culture of seaweed and shellfish within the Moreton Bay marine park. The scholarships align with a FRDC funded project on the economic, environmental and social benefits of aquaculture.



Southeast Queensland is home to several large, urbanised estuaries that fall within multi-zone marine parks. This region is also one of the fastest growing in Australia. Rapid population growth creates a challenge for wastewater utilities to deal with the increase in nutrient loads. At the same time, aquaculture producers face reduced productivity due to environmental change, disease and algal blooms, and challenges associated with the business risks presented by monoculture. Aboriginal communities and corporations in the region are also investigating new opportunities to diversify income through sustainable projects that provide benefits for the environment and people.

 Seaweed production offers a unique and timely solution to address some of the economic, environmental and social challenges in southeast Queensland. Seaweed farming is a ‘no-feed’ form of aquaculture; it is zero waste and compatible with shellfish farming and marine park zoning. Seaweeds grow quickly and strip nutrients from the water column, draw down carbon dioxide and can remove pollutants such as heavy metals. At the right scale, seaweed farming will reverse environmental change.

Project Objectives

 The objectives of the PhD projects are to assess the broader environmental benefits and impacts of restorative aquaculture by assessing:

 The benefits and impacts of existing shellfish aquaculture on the surrounding marine ecosystems as a baseline for restorative aquaculture

  1. The ‘spill-over’ benefits of seaweed aquaculture on the surrounding marine ecosystem, including enhancement of fish habitat, water quality improvements and blue carbon.
  2. Economic and environmental trade-offs in the co-culture of shellfish and seaweeds in the design of restorative aquaculture systems

The Ideal Candidate

The ideal candidate will have demonstrated academic excellence in ecology, biology or a related discipline relative to career stage and a strong commitment to improving the world with science. The ideal candidate will have the capacity to work with a diverse range of people and stakeholders as part of a large, multidisciplinary team. Strong quantitative, statistical and programming skills (preferably R) are desirable and the candidate must have fieldwork experience and an interest in broader communication of research findings.

  • 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
  • Demonstrated academic excellence in ecology, biology or a related discipline relative to career stage
  • Strong commitment to improving the world through science
  • Ability to work with diverse stakeholders as part of a multidisciplinary team
  • Strong quantitative, statistical and programming skills (preferably R)
  • Fieldwork experience and relevant qualifications
  • An interest in science and communication
Eligible programs
Number available

Annual Stipend: $28,092

Annual operating funds: $10,000

Annual Tuition Fees: $28,000

Overseas Student Health Cover (Single Cover): $3,420

To apply: Prior to completing an official application, applicants are required to contact the supervision panel to discuss the project.
  1. If you are not a current USC HDR student, complete an application for program admission following the directions on the HDR Applicants page.
  2. Apply for the scholarship