Ocean mixing under Antarctic sea ice

Observing and characterising upper ocean mixing under different Antarctic sea ice regimes

Degree type


Closing date

1 July 2023



Citizenship requirement

Domestic / International


$31,500pa for 3.5 years

About the research project

Antarctic sea ice extent, unlike in the Arctic, was relatively stable and even increasing from 1979 to 2016. However, over the past 7 years, Antarctic sea ice extent has been low and has had 3 extreme loss events. Key questions that the research community is trying to answer include 'Is this recent decline short-lived or the start of a long-term shift?' and 'What is the role of the ocean in current sea ice trends?'

Ocean-ice interactions, including ocean mixing, have been identified as key factors controlling decadal sea ice trends. Ocean heat transfer to sea ice is mainly controlled by the intensity of ocean mixing, a property that is difficult to estimate, relying for example on direct microstructure observations. As a result, the Antarctic sea ice ocean mixing environment, including ocean-ice processes, has remained largely under-sampled.

The project involves collecting and analysing quantitative ocean mixing observations under Antarctic sea ice to better understand the role of the ocean on current sea ice trends. Participation to several Antarctic research cruises is anticipated.

Through collaborations with the Norwegian Polar Institute and the Australian Antarctic Division, the project will investigate:

  1. How does ocean mixing vary in different sea ice regimes?
  2. How does ocean mixing impact physical interactions at the ocean-sea ice interface?
  3. Explore related impacts on biogeochemistry and sea ice ecosystems productivity.

In this project, microstructure ocean turbulence observations will be collected with a shear profiler. To quantify mixing from the data, the shear variance and the turbulent dissipation rate (mixing) will be derived. Follow on analysis will include quantifying vertical fluxes in the water column, such as heat fluxes and nutrient fluxes, both key metrics when assessing dynamics and feedback mechanisms across the ocean-sea ice system. This will be complemented with the analysis of oceanographic conditions under sea ice, with a focus on mixed layer properties and water mass analysis.

This PhD project is a contribution to a multi-institutional ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award with collaborators at the Norwegian Polar Institute and the Australian Antarctic Division.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Amelie Meyer


The successful applicant will receive a scholarship which 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.

Additional funding

There is a top-up scholarship of $5,000 per annum (not indexed) for 3.5 years, with no extension, funded by Quantitative Marine Sciences (QMS) that will be considered for an outstanding applicant.


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:

  • Applications are open to Domestic and International applicants
  • 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:

  • First Class Honours (or equivalent), or Masters degree in physical oceanography, atmospheric science, physics or mathematics
  • Strong quantitative skills (mathematics and physics background)
  • Interest and ability to do remote fieldwork

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Experience with coding in MATLAB, python or equivalent
  • Knowledge of ocean and climate system
  • Research experience or undergraduate training in polar science
  • Experience with fieldwork

Application process

  1. Select your project, and check that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria, including citizenship;
  2. Contact Dr Amelie Meyer or the Co-Supervisor Dr Petra Heil 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 01 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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