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Students will have access to staff who are nationally and internationally acclaimed for research excellence.

There is a strong emphasis on providing students with field experience, and the use of the same equipment that is used in pioneering research across the northern and southern hemispheres.

Marine Biology is all about the largest and most diverse ecosystem on the planet - the sea.

This program prepares graduates for careers in marine biology via training in the use of coherent, logical procedures and rigorous experimental planning for practical work in the field and laboratory.

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Undertaking postgraduate study can help advance your career, change direction or improve your employment prospects by elevating your qualifications, enhancing your skills and building your knowledge base.

If you are interested in any of the below research topics please contact the listed researcher.

  • Environmental benefits of oyster restoration
    environmental benefits

    Evaluation of the environmental and economic benefits of a restored oyster reef is critical to the success of the Ardrossan restoration project. Oyster reefs provide a broad diversity of important ecosystem services, including: increasing regional biodiversity by providing habitat to numerous other animals, boosting the production of baby fish, and cleaning coastal waters via their filter-feeding of excess nutrients from the water column.

    We are looking for a team of postgraduates to run research projects that quantify these numerous ecosystem services. Such research will help advocate for future restoration projects both in Australia and abroad.

    Contact: Dominic Mcafee

  • Increasing the reef’s performance and climate resilience

    To ensure the successful restoration of our native oysters we need to understand the complex life-history of oysters, and how each life-event will perform as our ocean changes. The world-leading aquarium facilities at The University of Adelaide allows researchers to simulate future ocean conditions so we can anticipate how these oysters will response to increasing temperature and ocean acidification. Understanding the important environmental cues that oyster spat use to choose their settlement location will allow us to not only maximise the recruitment of wild oyster spat, but also develop techniques to enhance the settlement signals over time.

    Research projects can be tailored around laboratory and/or manipulative field experiments to develop our knowledge in this exciting field.

    Contact: Dominic Mcafee

  • Artificial reef habitat units

    Four different habitat units were specially designed for deployment with the Ardrossan oyster restoration. Produced by Reef Design Lab in Melbourne, these structures have been specifically designed to enhance the recruitment and survivorship of oysters on the reef. Artificial habitat creation is an ever-increasing technique for habitat restoration, and these organic designs are at the cutting edge of the movement.

    We are looking for post-graduate students to lead the investigation of how these different designs influence the recruitment of biodiversity.

    Contact: Dominic Mcafee

  • Help nature fight back!

    This project explores how nature stablises herself when disturbed. The premise is "for every actionthere is an equal (in size) and opposite (in direction)".  You will be working with disturbances, such as ocean acidification, which causes weedy species to displace kelp forests. The opposing force is the effect of herbivores that consume the weedy species at the same speed they expand.  This is a new and important theory (compensatory effects) that will provide you with strong skills in science and applied science.

    Contact: Sean Connell

  • Restoring nature: artifical reefs & oyster reef restoration

    This project works with government to identify how and where to restore South Australia's coastal biodiversity using artifical reefs. An interest in field-work and issues facing management and society would be beneficial.  Being willing to meet and talk with policy makers, NGOs and the general public woudl be important for some projects.

    Contact: Sean Connell

  • Adventures: combine field & intellectual adventures into one

    Do you want to spend time on the coast or use your snorkelling skills?  If so, lets talk about your favourate animals and locations and work up a project around your strengths.  About half of my 80+ postgraduate students have graduated to jobs by following their passion for adventure.

    Contact: Sean Connell

  • Climate Change

    Multiple projects and opportunities are available to work on climate change effects on marine ecosystems. While the focus is on fishes, research includes the interactions with other species as well as habitats. Advanced field as well as lab experiments are possible, focussing on a variety of important species (e.g. barramundi, snapper, mulloway). The overall focus of the research is to understand and better predict the long-term impacts of global change on population viability of coastal species and functioning of coastal ecosystems.

    Contact: Ivan Nagelkerken

  • Sensory ecology

    The majority of marine species have a two-phase life cycle, one of which is an oceanic larval phase. Larvae possess excellent navigational capabilities and can have a large influence on where they end up after settlement. Several projects are available that will investigate adaptive larval behaviour of coastal fish species to olfactory and sound cues from coastal habitats (e.g. rocky reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds, kelp). Projects focus on trying to understand how pelagic marine larvae have evolved to respond to conflicting habitat cues or have adopted a hierarchical response to different cues at different threshold levels or concentrations. Projects could also focus on how human deterioration of coastal habitats may affect settlement of marine larvae, e.g. on the effects of anthropogenic sound sources on hearing and on the effects of coastal water quality on essential olfactory cues.

    Contact: Ivan Nagelkerken

  • Nursery function

    Mangrove and seagrass ecosystems have long been recognized for their nursery role for a variety of coastal fish and crustacean species. Many of these species are of commercial importance or perform important ecological roles (e.g. parrotfish grazing on coral reefs). Projects are available to study the underlying mechanisms of nursery habitat use specifically, or take a broader perspective approach by studying the ecological effects on recipient ecosystems, for example, on how nursery-to-reef subsidies by fish alter food-web dynamics, fisheries production, and resilience of recipient systems.

    Contact: Ivan Nagelkerken

Marine Biology



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