Feral deer are an emerging issue for the management of endangered ecological communities. There is a significant gap in our knowledge about the impacts of deer on Australian plant communities which limits the development of adequate management options for protecting threatened plant communities where deer invade. The project needs cross-institutional connections and this project will make important links with agencies concerned with conservation in the broader Illawarra region.
The PhD applicant will work with Prof. Kris French as part of a team with OEH, SE LLS and DPI. It will investigate impacts on two compositionally different threatened plant communities: Illawarra and South Coast Lowland Forest and Woodland and Illawarra Subtropical Rainforest.
The work will contribute to a better theoretical understanding about mammalian herbivore preferences and how these influence plant community dynamics. The project will quantify the current impact of feral deer through an exclusion experiment, assess differences in diet preferences of native and feral mammalian herbivores and assess the long-term impacts on community resilience through assessing changes in seed bank regeneration potential. PhD students need to have skills in ecology and field work.
The project has received funding through OEH and SE LLS for field equipment. Interested candidates must apply for a competitive scholarship in the University of Wollongong main scholarship round (closing date 17 October).
Please contact Kris French firstname.lastname@example.org; 02 4221 3655