Saving seagrass from climate change

Improving resilience of seagrass

This project will address fitness in seagrass meadows and how it can be improved through inter-population genetic connectivity. This research will target range edge seagrass meadows, with a focus on the World Heritage site Shark Bay.

If validated, our research has the potential to not only improve the capacity of seagrasses to adapt and survive in situ, but also to improve the way seagrass restoration is undertaken in the future. This project will help improve resilience of this economically and culturally significant marine ecosystem.

Project goals:

  • Assessing genomic diversity and genetic regulation of flowering in range edge populations
  • Establishing optimal outcrossing among range edge meadows with controlled pollination trials.
  • Testing the effect of increased outcrossing on seagrass resilience to climate change scenarios.

Two PhD projects:

  • One project will be focused on genomic diversity and identifying candidate genes associated with seagrass flowering induction. 
  • A second project will be conducting controlled pollination experiments to test for heterosis and the effect of wide outcrossing to climate change scenarios.

Research team leader: Dr Elizabeth Sinclair

Liz is an evolutionary biologist. Her current research focuses on patterns of genomic diversity, gene expression and adaptation in Shark Bay’s large temperate seagrasses. Outcomes from this research will assist with seagrass restoration efforts.

Liz works collaboratively with Professor Gary Kendrick Lead Scientist of the Seagrass Research Laboratory at UWA.


How to Apply

Check criteria
  • To be accepted into the Doctor of Philosophy, an applicant must demonstrate they have sufficient background experience in independent supervised research to successfully complete, and provide evidence of English language proficiency
  • Requirements specific to this project:
    • A degree in marine biology or plant biology and/or genomics/bioinformatics with an interest in conservation or restoration.
    • The projects will have a combination of field, glasshouse, laboratory and bioinformatics components. Skills in DNA/RNA extraction, genome sequencing and bioinformatics are strongly encouraged.
Submit enquiry to research team leader 
  • Contact the research team leader by submitting an Expression of Interest form via the button below
  • After you have discussed your project with the research team leader, contact [email protected] to proceed with your application


Domestic students

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

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.

Indigenous students
Indigenous students are encouraged to apply for Indigenous Postgraduate Research Supplementary Scholarships.
Forrest Foundation scholarships
All international and Australian students who wish to study towards the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at The University of Western Australia may apply for Forrest Scholarships.

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