Defining how inter-bacterial symbioses regulate aquatic ecosystem health

University of Technology Sydney
April 15, 2023
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Planktonic bacteria play crucial roles in regulating the productivity, health and function of aquatic ecosystems. Recent evidence suggests that the growth and ecological impacts of aquatic bacteria is potentially strongly regulated by previously over-looked inter-bacterial interactions. This project will combine cutting-edge approaches in genomics, phenomics and microfluidics to (i) identify new symbiotic interactions between bacteria, (ii) elucidate the key chemical currencies exchanged between bacterial partners, (iii) determine the behavioural mechanisms involved in the establishment and maintenance of bacterial symbioses, and (iv) assess how these symbioses govern important ecosystem-level processes. The outcomes of this project will deliver a fundamentally new perspective on the processes controlling the health of important aquatic ecosystems, including the ocean, rivers and lakes.

Who is eligible?

Applicants must be either Australian or New Zealand citizens/permanent residents. To be eligible for this application, you must hold the following or equivalent degree:

  • Honours degree with First Class, or Second-Class Division 1, or
  • MSc Research or MSc Coursework with a research thesis of at least 6 months.
  • Or be regarded by the university as having an equivalent level of attainment.
  • Selection process
  • Demonstrated experience in microbiology, molecular biology or analytical chemistry.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and as part of the team.
  • High level of motivation and enthusiasm.
  • Ability to commence studies as soon as possible.
  • How to apply

    Applicants should send their CV, a ½ page expression of interest to Prof. Justin Seymour and Dr Jean-Baptiste Raina

    before the closing date. Shortlisted candidates will be advised with further details.

    Need more information? Contact...

    Please contact Prof. Justin Seymour for further information.

    Other information

    This project will be hosted within the Ocean Microbes Group (OMG), within the Climate Change Cluster (C3) at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). The OMG is one of 6 key research programs within C3 and has a broad focus on elucidating the ecological and biogeochemical functions of microbes in marine environments. C3 is one of the UTS “research strength” institutes and currently hosts 90 researchers, providing a vibrant environment and a comprehensive suite of field and laboratory-based analytical equipment and research infrastructure that will be available to the successful candidate throughout this project.


    The successful candidate will be awarded $32,500 per year (RTP Stipend rate, indexed annually); additional funds ($7.5k) are available during the course of the PhD for travel and other directly PhD-related expenses.


    3.5 years.








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