PhD project on fish ecology (University of Auckland/NIWA)

The project will examine responses of juvenile fishes to variation in habitat structure, food supply, and predation risk, with the aim of determining whether adult populations of an important fished species are limited by interactions between juveniles in nursery habitats. The project will focus on the effect of intraspecific behavioural interactions on the growth and survival of juvenile snapper (Pagrus auratus) in biogenic habitats (e.g., seagrass beds, horse mussel beds, sponge gardens) under varying resource levels, and will include field and tank-based experiments.

The student will be based at the University of Auckland’s Leigh Marine Laboratory in warm-temperate northeastern New Zealand (90 km north of Auckland city), and will be supervised by Dr Richard Taylor, University of Auckland, and Dr Mark Morrison, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA). The research is part of a large project led by Dr Morrison (‘Juvenile fish habitat bottlenecks’, funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment), and the student will be supported by, and encouraged to interact with, other members of the research team, including for field work. The geographic focus for the snapper component of this programme is the East Northland coast and the greater Hauraki Gulf.

The scholarship is available to international and domestic students, and consists of a stipend of NZ$27,000 per annum (tax-free) plus tuition fees. The scholarship is for three years with the possibility of a 6-month extension. Additional funding is available for research expenses and conference travel.

Applicants should hold a relevant first-class honours degree (or equivalent) that includes an independent research component.

Please email your application to Richard Taylor (, and include a cover letter, CV, academic transcript(s), and contact details of at least two people who can provide confidential references. Applications are due July 31 2017, with the research commencing by November 2017.

If you have any questions please contact: Richard Taylor or Mark Morrison