Australian hydroclimate treering anatomy

Developing a better understanding of past Australian hydroclimate variability through Quantitative Wood Anatomy

Degree type


Closing date

1 July 2023



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

As the driest inhabited continent, there is a pressing need to better understand long-term hydroclimate variability in Australia. Long-term palaeoclimate data can be used as constraints on climate model outputs, but for Australian mainland there is relatively little high quality and highly resolved (annual or better) hydroclimate information currently available. Tree-ring chronologies can provide such high-resolution information, but there has been relatively little effort to examine properties other than ring widths in Australia, and only in a few species.

This project will focus on investigating the potential of dendrochronologically under-investigated species on the Australian mainland and extending quantitative wood anatomy (QWA) research on Tasmania’s long-lived endemic conifer species.  This research will underpin the development of new hydroclimatically sensitive proxies from the tree-ring archive to improve our understanding of past Australian hydroclimate.  Improved knowledge of past hydroclimate is critical to informing risk in decision making across a range of sectors and regions in Australia.  Currently, for example, there is little locally available and highly resolved hydroclimatic information that extends beyond instrumental records available for eastern Australia where the majority of the population is located. The project will build on the QWA approaches developed largely for Tasmanian species, but applicable to other species, to derive annually resolved hydroclimatically sensitive chronologies in regions currently under-represented by high-resolution proxy records. This project will also develop some new approaches to extracting hydroclimatic information from angiosperm species, such as those Eucalypt species that can be long-lived.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Kathy Allen


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $31,500 per annum (2023 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Ensure your eligibility for the scholarship round by referring to our Key Dates.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • A working knowledge of dendrochronological principles and practice
  • Coding skills (e.g. Matlabb/R/Python)
  • Evidence of ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Excellent communication skills and proficiency in English
  • Ability to undertake fieldwork in remote areas for extended periods of time
  • Evidence of quantitative skills

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Knowledge of plant physiology
  • Ability to rapidly assimilate and analyse information across interdisciplinary divides

Application process

  1. Select your project, and check that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria, including citizenship;
  2. Contact Dr Kathy Allen to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. In your application:
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • Submit a signed supervisory support form, a CV including contact details of 2 referees and your project research proposal.
  4. Apply prior to 1 July 2023.

Full details of the application process can be found under the 'How to apply' section of the Research Degrees website.

Following the closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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