Invertebrate Autotomy

Project aims: Autotomy is a dramatic and extreme response to predation whereby organisms shed part of their body to avoid entrapment or predation. Although the benefit of autotomy is survival, the costs to locomotion, energy stores, mating ability and inter and intra specific competition are varied and less well-understood.

This PhD project will be a laboratory and field-based eco-physiology and behavioural ecology project that will aim to explore the energetic and behavioural costs of limb autotomy in a range of invertebrate taxa. Topics to be explored include: physiological effects of autotomy for taxon with leg specialisation, costs of autotomy with predation mode, physiological costs of autotomy at different ontogenetic stages (species with and without regeneration), the effect of autotomy on immune reaction (encapsulation of foreign bodies) and interaction between predators and prey that can both autotomise.

Requirements: Students will need to successfully obtain admission to Curtin University’s postgraduate program, and it is expected that they will also apply for an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) and/or a Curtin University Postgraduate Scholarship (CUPS). Applications close October 2015. Please see the Curtin Website for more information about admission and scholarships.
     Benefits: Curtin University provides a generous top-up to the standard APA/UPA funding of $24,653 pa, so that the total value of an APA is $32,500 pa and a CUPA $27,500 pa. Students in the Department of Environment and Agriculture also receive a laptop for the duration of their candidature.
     Contact: Bill Bateman Ph 9266 2021