Jim Willis Studentships 2017/18

The Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria invites applications for vacation studentships honouring the late Dr James Hamlyn Willis, distinguished former senior member of staff at the National Herbarium of Victoria. You will be in the third or fourth year of a Science degree, with interests in plant and/or fungal systematics. The studentship will allow you to participate, under supervision, in one of the research programs at the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria.   

There are two studentships available and each is awarded for an eight week period during December to February, and remuneration is $1,829.71 gross per fortnight.  Applications will be assessed on the merit of the applicant.  The following projects are offered for 2017/2018:

Projects

Unravelling the Victorian Lomandra filiformis species complex
Lomandra filiformis (wattle mat-rush) is native to Australia and widespread from northern Queensland to Victoria. In Victoria, there are two (filiformis and coriacea) of the three currently recognised subspecies, however they are highly variable and often difficult to distinguish. The project will test taxonomic boundaries in Victorian taxa by a principal component analysis of 30 discrete and continuous morphological characters from herbarium specimens. Targeted field collecting may be necessary. The study will contribute to VicFlora by resolving the taxonomy of the species in Victoria, and result in preparation of a manuscript for publication.

Supervisors
Bee Gunn
T 03 9252 2410
E bee.gunn@rbg.vic.gov.au

Daniel Murphy
T 03 9252 2377 
E daniel.murphy@rbg.vic.gov.au 

Joanne Birch
E joanne.birch@unimelb.edu.au

Neville Walsh
T 03 9252 2310
E neville.walsh@rbg.vic.gov.au

  
Is Ajuga australis R.Br. really a single species?
Ajuga australis (Lamiaceae) is a morphologically variable taxon widespread across diverse habitats of southeastern Australia (SA, Vic, NSW, Qld). Only one species is recognised but a morphological study of A. australis from NSW suggests that additional taxa are likely to occur within the species as currently recognised. The project will involve morphometric analysis of critical features based on herbarium specimens at MEL from across the distribution of A. australis and a small amount of DNA sequencing to identify variable chloroplast regions that may be useful in a molecular phylogeny of the complex.  There may be some fieldwork.

Supervisors 
Neville Walsh
T 03 9252 2310
E neville.walsh@rbg.vic.gov.au

Liz James
T 03 9252 2378
E elizabeth.james@rbg.vic.gov.au

  
Taxonomy & affinities of the genus Zelleromyces 
Six species of the truffle-like genus Zelleromyces have been described from Australia and New Zealand, however preliminary morphological and molecular data suggest there might be over 20 species. We will pick 2 species to investigate, describe, and name.  Use light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, descriptive morphology, and DNA sequencing to examine specimens from different geographic regions to support species delimitation. Write draft species descriptions and prepare figures for publication of new species.

Supervisor 
Teresa Lebel
T 03 9252 2361 
E teresa.lebel@rbg.vic.gov.au

  
Gymnomyces redolens- untangling cryptic species diversity 
The truffle-like species Gymnomyces redolens is widely distributed across New Zealand, and has been recorded as occurring in Australia. Preliminary molecular analyses suggest that this species is restricted to New Zealand, and that there are at least 3 cryptic species hiding under this name, with host associations to either Nothofagus or Leptospermum. Some morphological variation has been noted in fruit-body stature and colour, and spore ornamentation and shape. Use light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, descriptive morphology, and DNA sequencing to examine specimens from different geographic regions of New Zealand to support species delimitation. Write draft species descriptions and prepare figures for publication of new species. 

Supervisor
Teresa Lebel
T 03 9252 2361
E teresa.lebel@rbg.vic.gov.au

Enquiries and applications  

For general enquiries on studentships please contact:
Frank Udovicic
T 03 9252 2313
E frank.udovicic@rbg.vic.gov.au

Applications should include a curriculum vitae (including university transcript), two referees, and a brief covering letter explaining how the applicant would benefit from the Jim Willis Studentship and how they can contribute to research at the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, and reasons for preference of particular project. Hard copies of applications should be sent to Dr Frank Udovicic, Manager Research, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Private Bag 2000 South Yarra, Victoria 3141, by 20 October 2017.