We are a vibrant lab with a focus on applying the latest computational methods to understanding species demography (especially size-structured dynamics), species distributions, and ecosystem structure and dynamics (especially biomass and carbon) from a process-based perspective.

See below for notes on opportunities for open positions, potentials for PhD or Msc and honours projects.

Current positions open

iPhD program: Predicting climate change impacts on carbon-farming projects in Australian Rangelands

Application close: April 3, 2020

Eligibility: Australian/New Zealand Citizens and Australian Permanent residents.

Full details: https://research.unsw.edu.au/industry-phd/projects/landscape-dynamics-of-regenerating-forests-predicting-climate-change-impacts-on-0

I'm excited to call for applications for this project modelling long-term outcomes of carbon farming projects, and associated economic risks induced by climate change, particularly changes in seasonal rainfall.

The project is in collaboration with our industry partner Climate Friendly, together with CSIRO's Dr Keryn Paul & Dr Stephen Roxburgh, and UNSW academics Dr Daniel Falster and Prof Andy Pitman.

Benefits of this program include:

  • A 4 year program, including a minimum 6 month industry internship,
  • $40K per annum scholarship,
  • An elite industry-focused research program,
  • Three-way support system by UNSW, CSIRO and an Industry Partner.

Carbon-farming projects that promote natural regeneration in degraded semi-arid landscapes drive changes in landscape condition at huge scales, offering an unparalleled opportunity to answer ecological questions that improve our stewardship of Australian ecosystems while delivering direct economic benefits. Climate Friendly and partners collectively manage more than 4 million hectares of regenerating mulga forests. Intensive monitoring tracks regeneration on individual properties, but synthesising diverse datasets across property, regional, and national scales has proven challenging. Studying regeneration at scale is needed to understand the interactions between climate and landscape condition, and how carbon stored in these landscapes is impacted.

Feel free to contact Daniel for further discussion.

Understanding when and how trees get really tall: 2-3 yr Post-doc based at University of New South Wales Sydney

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 candidate should have experience in modelling dynamical systems, and have solid programming experience, using R and C++ (or similar languages).

We will also be looking to recruit students who are competitive for scholarships to work together with the team on this project.

Official adverts will be posted in the future, but get in touch Daniel or Peter if you are interested.

Eucalypt Futures: 2 x post-docs at UNSW & Uni. Melbourne

Thanks to a grant from Eucalypt Australia, we are seeking two post docs to work on modelling eucalypt trees and the traits that govern performance and distributions. Investigators include: Ass Prof Peter Vesk (Melbourne), Dr Daniel Falster (UNSW), Dr Rachael Gallagher (Macquarie), Dr Martin De Kauwe (UNSW), and Gurutzeta Guillera-Arroita. The overall goal of the project is to compare the different approaches and their projections for how Eucalypt distributions may change into the future. We expect a high degree of collaboration between the different labs.

The first position is for 3 years and based at the University of Melbourne, in Peter Vesk's lab. The postdoc will test how well trait-Environment statistical models capture the distribution of Eucalypts along environmental gradients. The role will include a mix of field work and modelling.

The second position is for 2 years and based at the University of New South Wales, in Daniel Falster's lab and jointly supervised by Martin De Kauwe. The postdoc will use process-based approaches to model changes in traits and performance of Eucalypts along environmental gradients.

We will also be looking to recruit students who are competitive for scholarships to work together with the team on this project.

Official adverts will be posted in the future, but get in touch Daniel or Peter if you are interested.

MSc and PhD students

I am interested in supervising students seeking to apply quantitative methods to answer fundamental and applied questions in ecology. If you are interested in joining the lab, please send a brief statement of research interests, along with a CV, to Daniel.

Potential areas of study include

  • Understanding the distribution of Eucalypts in relation to traits,
  • Understanding what drives Eucalypts to grow really tall,
  • Size-structured population dynamics, including in vegetation and other systems; in particular understanding how competition for resources shapes species traits,
  • Estimating and modelling the potential for carbon sequestration in vegetation, particularly under future climates.

Australian & NZ students must be competitive for an Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship. Successful applicants generally have an Honours I mark or existing publications.

UNSW can also accept international students, but competition for scholarships is intense. Successful students generally have an applicants generally have a combination of excellent grades, existing publications, and come from a leading international university.

Honours students

I am interested in supervising students seeking to strengthen their quantitative skills, in particular those who have studied some math (even just high school) and seek opportunities to apply this to biological questions. If you are interested in joining the lab, please send a brief statement of research interests, along with a CV, to Daniel.