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Research Institute for Environment and Livelihoods

Current postgraduate projects

Find out what our students are investigating
RIEL staff with colleagues image

Our 50+ PhD and Masters students are working across northern Australia, in Timor-Leste, Indonesia, Nepal, Ecuador and other locations.

Project topics range from the life history of mouth brooding fish, to food security, carbon farming, climate change and more.

Project supervisors are world-renown in their fields and welcome interest from new students. If you are inspired by these projects CDU is keen to accommodate your needs and link you with funding opportunities.

Masters Projects

Development and assessment of a led device for continuous measurement of plant canopy reflectance spectra

Student: Andrew Esparon

Supervisor: Stefan Maier/Lindsay Hutley

Can mine site rehabilitation restore Indigenous cultural values?

Student: Will Kemp

Supervisor: Sean Bellairs

To what extent does prescribed burning leverage unburnt habitat in subsequent years in central Australian ecosystems?

Student: Rachel Murphy

Supervisor: Stephen Garnett

PhD Projects

Biodiversity conservation

Conservation governance of red panda habitat in Nepal

Student: Manoj Bhatta

Supervisor: Stephen Garnett

The impacts and benefits of keeping threatened elasmobranchs (sharks & rays) in public aquaria

Student: Kathryn Buckley

Supervisor: Peter Kyne

Movements, habitat use, and diet of the Magpie Goose (Anseranas semipalmata) in an agricultural landscape of the Northern Territory, Australia: implications for management

Student: Amelie Corriveau

Supervisor: Hamish Campbell

Smoke and Mirrors: The effect of urbanisation and fire on the bird assemblages of the Darwin region

Student: Sarah Fischer

Supervisor: Andrew Edwards

The habitat requirements and potential threats of the endangered Alligator Rivers Yellow Chat Epthianura crocea tunneyi

Student: Robin Leppitt

Supervisor: Stephen Garnett

Shorebird ecology in Darwin Harbour

Student: Amanda Lilleyman

Supervisor: Stephen Garnett

Ecophysiological Specialisation of Short-Range & Widespread Gehyra Species

Student: Karlee Peacock

Supervisor: Keith Christian

Combining radar aeroecology and movement ecology to study a waterfowl population

Student: Rebecca Rogers

Supervisor: Hamish Campbell

Responses of threatened species to cat baiting in the Pilbara

Student: William Ross

Supervisor: Brett Murphy

Management for the conservation of the northern quoll at Weipa

Student: Gavin Trewella

Supervisor: Brett Murphy

Communities and livelihoods

Women’s agency over livestock and income are key to ensure dietary quality among smallholders in rural Timor-Leste     

Student: Gianna Bonis-profumo

Supervisor: Natasha Stacey

An evaluation of participatory approaches to community empowerment for management of mangrove-aquaculture agroecosystems in south Sulawesi, Indonesia                          

Student: Benjamin Brown

Supervisor: Natasha Stacey

Governance of savanna burning carbon projects: maximising beneficial outcomes

Student: Taegan Calnan

Supervisor: Jeremy Russell-Smith

Savanna fire management, resources, methods and effectiveness.  A case study of the Arnhem Plateau region

Student: Jay Evans

Supervisor: Jeremy Russell-Smith

3D landscape process simulation:  agent-based model applications for participatory planning and capacity building

Student: Rohan Fisher

Supervisor: Stephen Garnett

Dietary diversity and fish consumption of mothers and their children in fisher households in eastern Indonesia

Student: Emily Gibson

Supervisor: Natasha Stacey

Indigenous enterprise development, population ecology and phenotype variation of the tropical tree, Terminalla ferdinandiana, in the Thamarrurr region of Northern Territory, Australia

Student: Julian Gorman

Supervisor: Dr Penny Wurm

Community-based fisheries management through a gender lens: examining gendered participation in fisheries management and monitoring in Timor-Leste

Student: Jennifer House

Supervisor: Natasha Stacey

Optimising the Timor-Leste sardine fishery for enhanced food security

Student: Kimberley Hunnam

Supervisor: Natasha Stacey

Energy futures in remote Australia: energy access and livelihoods in remote aboriginal homelands

Student: Catherine Joyce

Supervisor: Stephen Garnett

Energy efficiency of houses and best practice urban design in the Top End

Student: Shokhida Safarova

Supervisor: Stephen Garnett

Towards culturally appropriate fire management in the waanyi and garawa iands:  impediments, opportunities, and key challenges

Student: Katherine Van Wezel

Supervisor: Jeremy Russell-Smith

Savanna and arid ecology

Ants as "little things that run the world":  the effect of removing a dominant invertebrate on the functioning of tropical savanna ecosystems  

Student: Sarah Bonney

Supervisor: Alan Andersen

The influence of fire regimes on foraging efficiency in granivorous birds

Student: Sydney Collett

Supervisor: Hamish Campbell

Catchment hydrology in the wet dry tropics – what are the drivers of spring yield variability in east Sumba, Indonesia?

Student: Penelope Godwin

Supervisor: Penny Wurm

Environmental and disturbance regime constraints to carbon farming in northern Australia

Student: Linda Luck

Supervisor: Lindsay Hutley

Fire ecology and management of sandstone heath vegetation in north Australia

Student: Harry Macdermott

Supervisor: Brett Murphy

Community ecology of the avifauna of acacia shrublands in central Australia

Student: Bruce Pascoe

Supervisor: Christine Schlesinger

Tree hollow requirements of three arboreal mammals on the Tiwi Islands, northern Australia

Student: Cara Penton

Supervisor: Brett Murphy

Biological study of weed flora of arable crops and their organic control

Student: Muhammad Salman Quddus

Supervisor: Sean Bellairs

Does buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris) invasion impact plant-animal interactions in an arid system? Resource availability, bird populations and ecosystem function

Student: Ellen Ryan-Colton

Supervisor: Christine Schlesinger

Vegetated microhabitats are critical for avian access to arid zone waterholes

Student: Simon Votto

Supervisor: Jenny Davis

How do the river red gum characteristics influence the composition of animal species in central Australian riverine woodlands

Student: Erin Louise Westerhuis

Supervisor: Christine Schlesinger

Water and catchments

Life history of mouthbrooding freshwater fishes in northern Australia

Student: Janine Abecia

Supervisor: Osmar Luiz

Understanding the efficiency and efficacy of underwater video cameras for surveying and monitoring freshwater fishes in tropical wet lands

Student: Bryan Baker

Supervisor: Brett Murphy

Assessing the response of the groundwater communities to minewater impacts in a seasonal sandy stream in the wet-dry tropics

Student: Lisa Chandler

Supervisor: Jenny Davis

Depositional low velocity zones of intertidal and fringing mangroves in Darwin Harbour are ‘islands’ of high nutrient assimilation and processing

Student: Julia Fortune

Supervisor: Karen Gibb

Buffering the rising tide: Mangrove sediment response to accelerating sea level rise in northern Australia

Student: Madeline Goddard

Supervisor: Lindsay Hutley

The biology and ecology of exploited sharks in the Northern Territory, Australia

Student: Amy Kirke

Supervisor: David Crook

Spatial and temporal distribution of Sus scrofa in Northern Territory wetlands

Student: Shandala Loving

Supervisor: Hamish Campbell

Assessing the distribution, abundance and movement of marine megafauna in Northern Territory waters, Australia

Student: Ruth Patterson

Supervisor: Hamish Campbell

Drivers of diadromous migration in tropical Australian fishes

Student: Brien Roberts

Supervisor: Sam Banks

The life cycle, biology, wastewater and sediment remediation of the polychaete worm marphysa fauchaldi (barra bloodworm)

Student: Alea Rose

Supervisor: Karen Gibb

CO2 export from tropical river systems

Student: Vanessa Solano

Supervisor: Lindsay Hutley

Reproductive ecology of australia's wet-dry tropical freshwater fish: insights into environmental and hydrological determinants of fish production

Student: Kyle Tyler

Supervisor: Sam Banks

Magpie geese held by RIEL staff

Available postgraduate projects

Are you interested in doing a research project? If so, find out what projects we have available. If you’d rather bring your own idea, simply contact a supervisor working in that area.

What's on offer