Using geochemical techniques to quantify dust deposition to the Southern Ocean

Closing Date

3rd December 2019

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

The Research Project

This project will apply a suit of geochemical methods to quantify the amount of dust-borne iron reaching the Southern Ocean around Australia. In one third of the global ocean, the growth of phytoplankton is limited by the availability of iron, an essential trace nutrient (Moore et al. 2004). Mineral dust is an important source of iron to the ocean, supplying up to 50% of the iron to support phytoplankton growth in iron-limited regions (Okin et al. 2011).

The Southern Ocean is the largest and climatically most important iron limited region, being responsible for 35 to 40% of total CO2 uptake by the ocean (Landschutzer et al. 2015). In-situ iron fertilization experiments in the Southern Ocean clearly demonstrate the potential for external iron inputs, including dust, to stimulate productivity and carbon uptake in the Southern Ocean (Boyd et al. 2000).

Despite its importance, dust deposition to the ocean has been determined directly at only a handful of locations. Following the approach of Anderson et al (2016), this project will use geochemical methods based on the measurement of thorium isotopes and trace metals in aerosols, seawater, particles and sediment in four regions east and south of Australia. This project focuses on the analysis of samples already in-hand and interpretation of results, but there will also be an opportunity to go to sea.

  • This project involves a large component of sample analysis using advanced analytical methods requiring careful attention detail. The ideal candidate will have a background in chemistry, oceanography, earth science, or a closely related field, with research experience in analytical chemistry, chemical oceanography, geochemistry or a closely related field
  • Applicants from variety of disciplines are eligible to apply

See the following web page for entry requirements:

Assessment Criteria
  • Prior experience working in a clean laboratory, using ICP-MS and/or chromatographic separation, is desirable
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, Zanna Chase for further information.