30 August 2022

Lincoln University is offering a PhD Scholarship opportunity, funded by a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship that seeks to understand how successive ecological disturbances such as changes in seabird populations, fragmentation and plant disease have impacted plant compositions and biogeochemical signatures, soil microbial community structure and function in kauri forest.

This PhD will contribute to the broader goal of this programme, which is to reconstruct the kauri soil ecosystems over time using metagenomics, isotopic tracers, and paeleoecology, including the integration of Māori forest knowledge to build a whakapapa [ancestry] of the soil.  This programme addresses two overarching questions: (1) how has the loss of significant seabird populations, forest fragmentation and emerging pathogens over time, affected critical soil ecosystem functions, and (2) what lessons can we learn to guide us in protection of iconic forests into the future?  Building on a previous research programme into the landscape ecology of kauri dieback in Waipoua Forest, revealed that changes in soil microbial communities, linked to the presence of kauri dieback has impacted on key biogeochemical processes such as carbon storage.

Prerequisites and Application Process:

Applicants for this project are expected to have qualifications and experience in some or all of these areas: microbiology, molecular biology, isotope geochemistry and soil science. Working in remote areas, full drivers licence and having a good level of fitness will be necessary.  Working with communities, especially Māori communities would be an advantage.

Applications should send evidence of qualifications and research experience, together with a Curriculum Vitae and contact details of two academic referees. Applications should be supported by a cover letter that states why the candidate is interested in this PhD Scholarship and how their qualifications and aspirations would map onto the proposed research.

The position is open to candidates with Honours and/or Masters Degrees in a relevant discipline.

Preferred candidates would then need to apply to study for a PhD at Lincoln University and meet the institutional criteria for entry prior to the scholarship being confirmed, including obtaining a visa where applicable.

To apply, please email applications to Professor Amanda Black before the closing date 30th September, 2022. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed by Zoom.


The three year (36 month) PhD Scholarship provides an annual tax-free stipend of NZ$30,000 and covers full university tuition fees.

Location:           Canterbury with field work on Aotea/Great Barrier Island

Institution:       Lincoln University, New Zealand

Supervisors:    Professor Amanda Black, Dr Alexa Byers, Dr Nick Waipara, Professor Leo Condron

Discipline:        Soil microbial and molecular ecology, carbon isotope chemistry, biogeochemistry

Apply to:           Email applications to Professor Amanda Black

Deadline:         30th September 2022