The role of small river plumes and estuarine exchange in driving the ecological functioning of the coastal ocean

Closing Date

28th April 2020

Applicants should contact the primary supervisor, and submit their Expression of Interest (EOI) and Application as soon as possible.

The Research Project

Input from rivers and estuarine exchange on to the continental shelf plays an important role in altering physical, biogeochemical and ecological functioning of the coastal ocean. This input may influence stratification, nutrient flux, and local circulation patterns altering lower trophic levels and primary productivity. While previous studies have addressed general aspects of the structure and dynamics of river plumes, most of this work has focused on plumes formed by large and medium-size rivers. Little attention has been paid to small rivers plumes and estuarine exchange, largely because small plumes and estuarine exchange is highly dynamic and varies across short temporal (of order of hours) and spatial scales (1-10kms). This variability hinders precise measurements of plume structure and content even though small rivers influxes of fluvial water and suspended sediments is estimated at about 25% and 40%, respectively (Milliman and Syvitski, 1992; Milliman et al.,1999).

This project aims to advance our understanding of the role of small river plumes and estuarine exchange in driving the ecological functioning of the coastal ocean. Given the highly dynamic nature of small plumes, this work will employ a multidisciplinary approach encompassing satellite remote sensing and in situ/adaptive sampling with autonomous underwater vehicles to develop high-frequency, high-resolution, 3D sampling of the physical chemical and biological variables of plume structure and content.

The following eligibility criteria apply to this project:
  • The project is open to Australian and New Zealand (domestic) candidates and to International candidates.
  • Research must be undertaken on a full-time basis.
  • Applicants must already have been awarded a first-class Honours degree or hold equivalent qualifications or relevant and substantial research experience in an appropriate sector. See the following web page for entry requirements:
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate strong research and analytical skills.
  • Applicants must have good oral and verbal communication skills.
Candidates from the a variety of disciplinary backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Knowledge and skills that will be ranked highly include:
  • Biological oceanography/marine ecology background
  • Experience with programming for statistics and image processing (e.g. MATLAB)
  • Strong quantitative skills
  • Knowledge of bio-optical modelling, remote sensing algorithm development and hydrodynamic modelling
Application Process

Applicants who require more information or are interested in this specific project should first contact the listed Supervisor. Information and guidance on the application process can be found on the Apply Now website.

Information about scholarships is available on the Scholarships webpage.

More Information

Please contact, Andy Fischer, for further information.