Working with geomorphic and vegetative recovery in river and flood management - domestic

Working with geomorphic and vegetative recovery in river and flood management - domestic

Programs Available


Reference Number


Opening Date

06 Jul 2020 12am AEST 

Closing Date

30 Sep 2020 12am AEST 

Scholarship available to



After 200+ years of river degradation our rivers are now showing noticeable signs of geomorphic and vegetative recovery. River recovery is most pronounced in coastal valleys of NSW, Australia. However, foundation science is needed to understand the geomorphic and vegetative processes by which river recovery occurs, its impact on flood flow hydrology for natural flood management, trial new on-ground rehabilitation and vegetation management techniques (including the use of hazard reduction burns). It will investigate where corridors of recovery are in NSW, where to prioritise rehabilitation and the cost:benefit of working with recovery in river management practice.

There are 5 aims to the ARC Linkage project:

Aim 1) What geomorphic recovery are we seeing and why?

Aim 2) What has been the role of vegetative recovery?

Aim 3) What effect is recovery having on flood flow hydrology for natural flood management?

Aim 4) What is the cost:benefit of working with river recovery in practice?

Aim 5) What river management options are available to us to work with river recovery?

This position will focus on research Aims 2 and 5 of the ARC Linkage project and work on riparian vegetation biogeomorphology. This is a field-intensive project. You will join the rivers research group at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia led by Professor Kirstie Fryirs. The river recovery research project is fully funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage program and you will work in collaboration with our industry partners Landcare Australia and NSW Local Land Services (Hunter). You will also work closely with the other Macquarie University team members, Professor Michelle Leishman and Dr Tim Ralph, and with Professor Gary Brierley from University of Auckland.

To be eligible for this scholarship you will have a Masters by Research (MRes) degree in plant ecology, botany, fluvial geomorphology, or a related subject. You will track historical changes in riparian vegetation coverage and quality, characterise the type, and quantify the extent of returning riparian and instream vegetation. A range of new technology including Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS) and satellite imagery such as Sentinel and Landsat will be used. This project will also undertake field-based experiments to test the effectiveness of hazard reduction and/or cultural burns as a riparian vegetation management technique. You must have training or ability in:

  • Fieldwork design and execution
  • Australian vegetation identification
  • Use of GIS
  • Biostatistics
  • Communicating with a range of stakeholders – particularly when working with local landowners or Indigenous custodians
  • Working as part of an integrative team and with industry partners
  • Applications of science in river management practice
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills in English

Visa and relocation expenses:

The program of research is fully funded by the ARC Linkage project, however candidates on all positions are responsible for their own (and accompanying person’s) visa and relocation expenses.

Start date:

The position will be offered, filled and contracted as per normal selection processes.

Given COVID-19 restrictions on travel, the start date or commencement date will be as soon as the candidate arrives in Sydney at Macquarie University in accordance with Australian Government guidelines on travel. Macquarie University has approved extensions to the start date or commencement date for this position. To find out more, please contact Professor Kirstie Fryirs.


This scholarship is available to eligible domestic candidates to undertake a PhD (3-year) program

Scholarship Components

The scholarship is comprised of an ARC funded Tuition Fee Offset and Living Allowance/Stipend.

The stipend component of the scholarship is currently valued at AUD $28,092 per annum (2020 rate, tax exempt).

Contact Details

Name: Professor Kirstie Fryirs
Phone: +61 2 9850 8367

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