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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

Can mine site rehabilitation restore First Nations 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

Using landscape genetics and other tools to understand how spatial patterns of fire affect the dispersal and persistence of mammals on the Tiwi islands

Student: Alex Carey

Supervisor: Sam Banks

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

Student: Amy Kirke

Supervisor: David Crooke

Attitudinal and behavioural changes in audiences caused by the experience of environmental art

Student: Anthony Albrecht

Supervisor: Stephen Garnett

Management for the conservation of the Northern Quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus) at Weipa

Student: Gavin Trewella

Supervisor: Brett Murphy

Investigating the interactions of threatening processes that drive mammal population trends on the Tiwi Islands

Student: Georgina Neave

Supervisor: Brett Murphy

The conservation ecology of the Greater Bilby (Macrotis lagotis)

Student: Hayley Geyle

Supervisor: Sam Banks

Ecophysiological Specialisation of Short-Range and Widespread Gehyra Species

Student: Kade Nukha Skelton

Supervisor: Keith Christian

Individual-based movement ecology and fine-scale genetics in birds

Student: Mara Franziska Muller

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

Integration of biotelemetry, remote sensing and landscape genetics to identify the drivers of feral pig (Sus scrofa) movement in Northern Australian wetlands

Student: Shandala Loving

Supervisor: Hamish Campbell

The movement ecology of granivorous finches in the East Kimberley and the influence of fire upon food resources

Student: Sydney Collett

Supervisor: Hamish Campbell

The habitat use and genetics of green turtles in the Northern Territory

Student: Natalie Robson

Supervisor: Sam Banks

Movement ecology and natural mortality of threatened river sharks: informing conservation planning

Student: Julia Constance

Supervisor: Peter Kyne

Communities and Livelihoods

Ecological processes compromising the consumption of Long-necked turtles (Chelodina oblonga) in the Finniss River floodplain, Northern Territory, Australia

Student: Isabel Ely

Supervisor: Stephen Garnett

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

Student: Jenny House

Supervisor: Natasha Stacey

Optimising the Timor-Leste sardine fishery for enhanced food security

Student: Kimberley Hunnam

Supervisor: Natasha Stacey

The role and contribution of mangroves to gendered food and nutrition security and livelihoods in the Indo-Pacific region.

Student: Lulu Middleton

Supervisor: Natasha Stacey

Understanding the opportunities, limitations and cultural considerations of integrating unmanned aerial vehicles into the remote healthcare delivery model of the Northern Territory

Student: Vanya Bosiocic

Supervisor: Hamish Campbell

Savanna and arid ecology

Simulating long term erosion equilibrium of a rehabilitated mine landform

Student: Devika Nair

Supervisor: Sean Bellairs

Hollows, termites and long-term fire regimes in tropical savannas

Student: Ellen Rochelmeyer

Supervisor: Brett Murphy

Does Buffel Grass (Cenchrus ciliaris) invasion impact plant-animal interactions in an arid system?

Student: Ellen Ryan-colton

Supervisor: Christine Schlesinger

Responses of ant communities to environmental stress and disturbance in Australian tropical savannas: Are the hypogaeic and epigaeic strata decoupled?

Student: Francois Brassard

Supervisor: Alan Andersen

Environmental and disturbance regime constraints on savanna carbon storage in northern Australia

Student: Linda Luck

Supervisor: Lindsay Hutley

Water and Catchments

Assessing fish communities in Darwin Harbor utilising Baited Remote Underwater Videos (BRUVs)

Student: Amanda Billotti

Supervisor: Osmar Luiz

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

Student: Bryan Baker

Supervisor: Brett Murphy

Critical flow related trophic ecology of river predators in the Roper River

Student: Colton Perna

Supervisor: Keller Kopf

Life history and morphological adaptations of two mouthbrooding freshwater fishes in the NT rivers.

Student: Janine Abecia

Supervisor: Osmar Luiz

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

Student: Kyle Tyler

Supervisor: David Crooke

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

Student: Madeline Goddard

Supervisor: Lindsay Hutley

Removing the 'forever chemicals' (PFAS) from water

Student: Maria Ali

Supervisor: Vinuthaa Murthy

Understanding the impacts of large feral animals on culturally important plant resources in the seasonal wetlands of Arafura Swamp and Bulgul

Student: Sarah Sutcliffe

Supervisor: Keith Christian

The ecology and behaviour of terrestrial avifauna associated with long-lasting waterholes of central Australia.

Student: Simon Votto

Supervisor: Jenny Davis

Understanding the impact of climate change on freshwater floodplain wetlands, with special focus on aquatic invertebrates and larval fish

Student: Tegan Dedman

Supervisor: Keller Kopf

The importance of carbon fluxes from seasonal wetlands to streams at a catchment scale in the wet-dry tropics

Student: Vanessa Solano

Supervisor: Lindsay Hutley

Exploring continental-scale groundwater-related processes using Australia-wide hydrogeochemical data

Student: Stephen Lee

Supervisor: Dylan Irvine

Magpie geese held by RIEL staff
We're looking for researchers

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