Ecosystem resilience of Shark Bay under changing ocean climate

Examining the effects of climate change in Shark Bay's marine ecosystem

Understanding how ecosystems respond to changes in ocean climate will be a critical component of managing marine ecosystems in the future. Shark Bay is a World Heritage Area with some of the largest seagrass meadows in the world. These meadows have a high ecological and social importance, supporting abundant and diverse animal communities, and create conditions that allow the presence of the world’s largest population of stromatolites. However, these meadows – and thus the rest of the Shark Bay ecosystem - are directly threatened by climate change, underlined by large-scale seagrass dieback following a marine heatwave event in 2011.

It is therefore a management priority to understand how changes to primary producer communities in Shark Bay will impact on ecosystem function and structure. The PhD applicant will lead a project examining the bottom-up impacts of primary producer loss in the eastern embayment of Shark Bay, Western Australia. This project will involve a range of techniques, including seagrass ecology, biogeochemistry, and molecular ecology



For more background information, see the suggested readings below.

Suggested readings

Research team leader: Dr Matthew Fraser

I am a marine ecologist at the UWA Oceans Institute supported through the Robson and Robertson Research Fellowship. My research focuses on understanding how marine ecosystems will respond to future environmental changes, and in developing methods that improve the management of our coastal ecosystems. My research methods encompass marine ecology, molecular ecology, and biogeochemistry.

This project will be co-supervised by Professor Gary Kendrick at the School of Biological Sciences.

How to apply

Interested in becoming part of this project? Complete the following steps to submit your expression of interest:

Step 1 - Check criteria

General UWA PhD entrance requirements can be found on the Future Students website.

Requirements specific to this project include:

  • You will have a degree in natural resource economics or environmental economics.
  • Experience with non-market valuation is highly desirable.

Step 2 - Submit enquiry to research team leader

Step 3 - Lodge application

After you have discussed your project with the research team leader, you should be in a position to proceed to the next step of the UWA application process: Lodge an application. Different application procedures apply to domestic and international students.


Scholarships specific to this project

Keiran McNamara World Heritage Top-Up Scholarship:

  • $25,000 per annum value
  • top-up stipend of $10,000 per annum
  • an allowance of $15,000 per annum for research expenses, including research related travel
Domestic students

All domestic students may apply for Research Training Program and University Postgraduate Awards (UPA) scholarships.

The Australian Government's Endeavour Awards and Scholarships are available to Australian applicants for study in participating countries and regions.

International students

A range of scholarships are available from international organisations and governments. The full list, organised by country, is available on the Future Students website.

In addition, all international students may apply for International Research Training Program scholarships.

The Australian Government's Endeavour Awards and Scholarships are available to international applicants from participating countries and regions.

Indigenous students
Indigenous students are encouraged to apply for Indigenous Postgraduate Research Supplementary Scholarships.
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