Opportunities

PhD Positions:

Project 1: Integrating habitats in the vineyard ecosystem

Location All enquiries and applications to:
School of Biological Sciences Dr Matthew Goddard and Dr Sarah Knight
University of Auckland wineresearchnetwork@auckland.ac.nz
New Zealand

Starting Early 2018. Applications should comprise a CV and covering letter, with any supporting documentation as appropriate.

We are seeking an enthusiastic PhD student with interests in both the fundamental and applied aspects of microbial community ecology and population biology to join our group. Recent funding has been obtained to investigate microbial communities and populations associated with vines and wines in the two largest wine growing regions of New Zealand, Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough. This research will build on a body of work in this area at the University of Auckland (http://www.goddardlab.auckland.ac.nz), is strongly aligned with the Vineyard Ecosystem’s program (https://www.nzwine.com/en/innovation/innovation-new-zealand-wine/vineyard-ecosystems/), and collaborates extensively with Plant and Food Research (http://www.plantandfood.co.nz) and New Zealand Winegrowers (https://www.nzwine.com/en).

Next-generation DNA sequencing will be applied to evaluate aspects of microbial community ecology and population biology to understand what shapes fungal populations associated with vines and winemaking, how consistent this is between different varieties and over time, and how these differences might affect wine chemical composition. Such a project will produce solid academic outputs and valuable information for growers and winemakers regarding the effects of management on vineyard ecosystems and the quality of the wine deriving from these, and thus is precisely aligned with the MBIE Vineyard Ecosystem program.

The student will be expected to gather samples from vineyards and wineries in the Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough regions and aid in small scale winemaking across multiple vintages. Microbiology and molecular biology techniques, including next-generation sequencing will be used to analyse the microbial communities and populations. Hypotheses of interest will be tested using community ecology and population genetic analyses. Chemical analyses of the spontaneously fermented wines will be performed and compared with the microbial data to investigate if the different (or not) microbial populations affect wine quality. A strong background in ecology and molecular genetic approaches is recommended, along with some experience in microbiology.

This project includes the cost of fees and a tax-free stipend of $27,000 NZD p.a. for three years. Acceptance onto a doctoral program will be determined by University admissions, and require the applicant meets the University entry levels, which may be found here: https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/study/applications-and-admissions/how-to-apply/postgraduate-admission/doctoral-applications.html.

 Please get in touch with Dr Sarah Knight at wineresearchnetwork@auckland.ac.nz if you are interested or have any questions regarding the position. Formal application should comprise of a CV and cover letter.

 

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