Modelling climate change impacts on Antarctic ecosystems using an end-to-end ecosystem model

Degree type


Closing date

10 October 2022



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Antarctic marine ecosystems provide ecosystem services that are important on a global scale, and there is a strong imperative to understand and predict the responses of these systems and services to current and future climate change. Atlantis is a 3D, spatially explicit trophodynamic ecosystem model that integrates biology, physics, chemistry, and human impacts (e.g., the effects of fishing on ecosystem structure) to provide a synoptic view of marine ecosystems. An implementation of the Atlantis end-to-end ecosystem model has been developed through collaboration by partner-agencies AAD and CSIRO (though the previous ACE CRC) led by Dr Melbourne-Thomas. This East Antarctic model focuses on the Australian Antarctic Territory and adjacent East Antarctic sector of the Southern Ocean. The model inputs are assembled, and the model is running but requires calibration and deployment for scenario evaluation and validation. This model represents a powerful tool to look at across-food web responses to simulation of altered Southern Ocean conditions. This project is closely aligned with the Antarctic Science Strategic Plan, addressing key research areas that aim to understand sea ice – ecosystems interactions and to determine impacts of physical and chemical change on primary and secondary producers.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Sophie Bestley


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 $28,854 per annum (2022 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.

If successful, applicants will also receive a top-up scholarship of $6,000 per annum for 3.5 years. This scholarship is funded from the Australian Government as part of the Antarctic Science Collaboration Initiative program through the Australian Antarctic Program Partnership (AAPP).

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.

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:

  • First-class Honours or Masters equivalent research in science, mathematics or related discipline
  • Demonstrated proficiency in written and verbal English language
  • Experience in programming and quantitative ecology
  • Knowledge of marine ecosystems

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Experience with C and R programming languages
  • Experience with Ecosystem modelling
  • Knowledge of Antarctic marine ecosystems and climate change

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr Sophie Bestley to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. Submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • 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.
    • As part of your application, you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application 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.

Apply now Explore other projects

Why the University of Tasmania?

Worldwide reputation for research excellence

Quality supervision and support

Tasmania offers a unique study lifestyle experience