Jim Willis Studentships 2016/17

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 Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria.

The Jim Willis Studentship program was established in 1996 by Roger Riordan through the Cybec Foundation, which continues to generously support the program each year. Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria is also grateful to Maggie and Max Richards, The Estate of the late Grace Ella Fraser, the Royal Botanic Gardens Foundation Victoria, and private donors for their significant contributions to the program in recent years.

There are two studentships available and each is awarded for an eight week period during December to February, and remuneration is $1,791.19 gross per fortnight.  Applications will be assessed on the merit of the applicant. The following projects are offered for 2016/2017:


Taxonomic study of Pimelea curviflora

Pimelea curviflora is a complex currently containing 6 varieties and between 1 and 3 (depending on circumscription) of these occurring in Victoria. The project will involve morphometric analysis of critical features based on herbarium specimens and microphotography of seeds in an attempt to establish how many taxa are recognisable for Victoria. Some fieldwork may be involved.

Neville Walsh
T 03 9252 2310

André Messina
T 03 9252 2339

Auriscalpium (ear pick fungi) - new species and conservation threat assessments

Auriscalpium is a macrofungus that has a toothed hymenium. Despite its distinctive appearance in the field, there are few collections from Australia. These appear to belong to several species that are undescribed. One putative species is known from only one site. The project involves examination of macroscopic and microscopic features of Australian collections, analysis of existing DNA sequence data and preparation of formal descriptions for novel species. Threat assessment of species will also be carried out and nominations prepared for state conservation threat lists prepared as appropriate (such as under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act, Victoria).

Tom May
T 03 9252 2319
E tom.may@rbg.vic.gov.au

Placement of Australian collybioid fungi

Collybia is a genus of mushrooms that was widely used for species with rather simple fruit-bodies, macroscopically. Once microscopic features were analysed, most species formerly in Collybia have been transferred to a variety of genera such as Gymnopus and Rhodocollybia. However, placement of Australian species described in Collybia still needs to be assessed. In addition, an un-named species (Gymnopus sp. ‘furry’) needs formal description and confirmation of generic placement. The project involves examination of macroscopic and microscopic features of Australian collections, analysis of existing DNA sequence data, preparation of formal descriptions for novel species and formal transfer of species to appropriate genera.

Tom May
T 03 9252 2319

Enquiries and applications

For general enquiries on studentships please contact:
Frank Udovicic
T 03 9252 2313

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, Plant Sciences Manager, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Private Bag 2000 South Yarra, Victoria 3141, by 14 October 2016.