Project: Developmental temperatures as drivers of phenotypic change.

Environmental temperatures have a profound impact on developing animals. The Schwanz Lab has been quantifying the role of developmental temperature in shaping phenotypic variation in reptiles, and how this impacts populations in changing climates. We are looking for a PhD student to examine plasticity in response to developmental temperatures, plasticity’s role in creating phenotypic variation, and the influence on population response to environmental change.

Potential projects include:

  1. Quantifying temperature-based developmental plasticity across animal taxa.
  2. Quantifying and comparing other sources of developmental plasticity (e.g. maternal diet and oviposition behavior).
  3. Analyzing reaction norms of plasticity.

Addressing these issues will determine the relative importance of climate and temperature for organismal traits, and how they shape animal ecology and evolution. The studies to be undertaken are flexible and will depend on the student’s interests.

The research will employ quantitative syntheses of published literature, with potential expansion to focused empirical experiments in reptiles or invertebrates. The ideal candidate for this project will have a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Biology, with an emphasis in animal ecology and evolution, and a strong interest in phenotypic plasticity. Essential skills and experience include: experience with an independent research project; strong writing skills; strong statistical skills and competence in R programming. Experience working with large datasets would be valuable.

A scholarship is available through UNSW’s highly-competitive Scientia program (AU$40,000/yr stipend for 4 years + tuition covered + AU$10,000/yr career development funds).

Interested students should lodge an Expression of Interest at this link:

The deadline for EOIs is 20 July 2018, with applications due 3 September 2018 for early 2019 enrolment.