Thanks to a discovery grant from the Australian Research Council, we are seeking a post doc to investigate how different ecological factors drive eucalypt trees to exceptional heights, using process-based models of stand competition and trait evolution. Investigators include Dr Daniel Falster (UNSW) and Ass Prof Peter Vesk (Melbourne). Depending on the candidate, the work may also involve fieldwork.
The Postdoctoral Research Associate will drive research on the evolution of Australia’s tallest tree species, within a project funded by an ARC Discovery Grant (escalating the arms race: Understanding when and how trees get really tall, DP200100555). Australia's giant Eucalypt trees are an amazing phenomenon and resource; underpinning unique ecosystems, rich in timber, stored carbon, and animal habitat. While tree height generally arises via an evolutionary arms race for light, the race has escalated dramatically in some locations and species. Using a computational framework that simulates adaptation driven by size-structured competition, we aim to quantify how distinct factors–including climate, fire regimes, and recruitment strategy –enhance the race for light and can thereby explain the origins of Australia's giant Eucalypts.
The incumbent will contribute to the research project by leading computational analyses, using and further developing the plant model, to quantify how differences in climate, recruitment, and disturbance enhance the evolution of height across diverse Eucalypt species. The incumbent will also assist with field work quantifying traits of focal Eucalypt species in NSW, VIC, TAS and WA.
The research will be undertaken in the EERC, in collaboration with Assoc Prof Peter Vesk at the University of Melbourne. We are seeking candidates with a demonstrated knowledge of systems modelling, ecological dynamics, terrestrial bio-geochemistry, evolutionary dynamics, plant function and/or ecology.
We will also be looking to recruit students who are competitive for scholarships to work together with the team on this project.
Application close: Nov 16, 2020
Eligibility: Australian/New Zealand Citizens and Australian Permanent residents.