Modelling downward carbon flux in the Southern Ocean: linking ocean midwater ecology and biogeochemistry

Degree type


Closing date

18 July 2022



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

The oceans act as major sinks of atmospheric carbon. The biological pump is the ocean’s biologically driven carbon sequestration system. It has several key pathways for sequestering carbon (e.g., gravitational pump and particle injection via diverse groups of midwater biota), however, understanding these pathways and their interactions is not easy and therefore has seldom been attempted. Often the models designed to quantify downward particulate carbon flux in the oceans lack information on key pathways and their parameterization may only focus on a limited number of these conduits. Development of a holistic model which links these ecological and biogeochemical pathways will provide a much more comprehensive and accurate picture of downward particulate carbon flux across the oceans. Such a model will enable researchers to track the oceans’ ongoing ability to sequester carbon in response to climate change.

As part of the the Joint Exploration of the Twilight Zone Ocean Network (JETZON, initiative the AAPP 2020/2021 SOLACE voyage aimed “to improve water column measurements of the downward export flux of carbon of the biological pump using an integrated suite of new technological advances from particle decomposition to mesopelagic vertical migration”.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Prof Philip Boyd


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.

Applicants will be assessed and ranked according to the quality of their basis for entry research degree and institution, prior peer reviewed publications, academic awards, project-specific skills, training or relevant industry experience, referee’s reports and supervisory support.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Strong maths/statistical background
  • Strong analytical skills, especially with scientific analysis/programming software
  • Strong English written and oral communications
  • Demonstrated record of independent research (e.g. Honours, or Masters by Research)

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Experience in biological and ecosystem studies
  • Experience in biogeochemistry
  • Experience in Southern Ocean processes

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, Prof Philip Boyd 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