Open PhD position in Ecology- Fully funded by the Royal Society of New Zealand

Join a dynamic team in Aotearoa New Zealand exploring biodiversity-ecosystem functioning across meta-ecosystem boundaries. The University of Waikato is recruiting two motivated PhD students to study stream-riparian food webs and ecosystem processes.

The research team

Frank Burdon (University of Waikato), Andrew Barnes (University of Waikato)Stephen Pohe (Pohe Environmental), Claire Jacquet (University of Montpellier), Scott Tiegs (Oakland University), and Peter Hambäck (Stockholm University)

The project

They are looking for a PhD candidate with interests in aquatic-terrestrial linkages and community ecology to investigate the consequences of biodiversity on ecosystem processes across the stream-riparian interface.

The PhD project will investigate how terrestrial litter diversity influences decomposition and energy flow in stream-riparian networks. You will deploy decomposition assays in streams, analyze stream invertebrate consumers and resources for stoichiometric + isotopic + fatty acid composition to describe detrital food webs, and use advanced statistical analyses to estimate energy fluxes and diversity effects on ecosystem functioning. The successful candidate will be based at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand working with another PhD student in the research groups of Dr Frank Burdon and Dr Andrew Barnes.

Your profile

You will have a university degree in ecology or a related field with some expertise in stream and/or community ecology; experience using leaf bags to measure decomposition and stream invertebrate identification skills are desirable. You will be interested in working in an interdisciplinary research environment using field, laboratory, and modelling approaches in ecology. You should be comfortable with data analysis using R and familiarity with other coding languages (e.g., python) will be looked upon favorably. You will have good communication skills in English.

The offer

Appointments will be for three years, preferably starting as early as March 2024 (but flexible). The funding includes fees, a stipend ($35,000 p.a.), and health insurance.


Questions and applications should be directed to the Principal Investigator Dr Frank Burdon:

In your application please submit :

1) A letter stating your motivation for applying, including a short statement of research interests, experience, and skills.

2) An up-to-date CV including any authorships on peer-reviewed scientific papers

3) Contact details of at least two references.

The review of applications have begun; however, the process will be open until the position is filled.

Attachment below gives details about the PhD positons.