Ph.D. positions available for large oyster restoration project in the Sydney region

Large oyster reefs historically characterised estuaries on the South-East coast of Australia. These reefs played crucial roles in estuaries by filtering water, providing habitat for fish and invertebrates and protecting shoreline ecosystems. Nowadays, subtidal oyster reefs are mostly absent in the area due to human factors, including the harvesting of shells and live oysters since the 18th century.

The Sydney Harbour Research Program (SHRP) at SIMS, in collaboration with The University of Sydney, has secured two research grants for the restoration of subtidal oyster reefs around Sydney. This project aims to understand how re-introducing depleted oyster reefs can accelerate the rehabilitation of contaminated urban estuaries, enhance biodiversity and provide shoreline protection. The project is led by A/Prof Paul Gribben (University of New South Wales & SIMS – Sydney Harbour Research Program), Prof. Ross Coleman (University of Sydney & SIMS), A/Prof Ana Vila-Concejo (University of Sydney & SIMS), Dr Katie Dafforn (Macquarie University & SIMS – SHRP), A/Prof Will Figueira (University of Sydney & SIMS – SHRP) and Dr Ana Bugnot (University of Sydney & SIMS – SHRP).

We are inviting expressions of interest from outstanding students that wish to do a Ph.D. in the areas of:

  • Biodiversity and species introductions
  • Estuary function (nutrient cycling)
  • Sediment microbial communities
  • Habitat complexity and use by fish
  • Geomorphology, sediment transport and wave propagation [with Ana Vila-Concejo and Bree Morgan from the Geocoastal Research Group!!]

The project aims to solve pressing ecological issues using fundamental ecological concepts and procedures. Successful candidates will have the fantastic opportunity to work on a broad, multi-disciplinary collaboration including multiple academic institutions, the NSW Department of Primary Industries – Fisheries, the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and The Nature Conservancy.

Suitable candidates will have a First-class hons or equivalent and be competitive for APA or international equivalent. Interested candidates should contact Dr Ana Bugnot (, specifying topic of interest and including CV and academic transcripts.

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