Reconstructing Antarctic Bottom Water

Reconstructing past changes in Antarctic Bottom Water in the Cape Darnley region using geochemical proxies

Degree type


Closing date

1 July 2023



Citizenship requirement

Domestic / International


$31,500pa for 3.5 years

About the research project

Under the right conditions, cold, salty, dense Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) forms on the shelves around Antarctica and flows into the deep ocean basins. AABW forms the lower limb of the global ocean circulation and transports oxygen and carbon to the deep ocean. As a result, AABW plays a key role in global climate. Despite the global significance of AABW there are several outstanding questions about the past and present AABW formation and its role in climate change during the last glacial cycle. It is unclear whether AABW formed during glacial climates when ice sheets extended to the edge of the Antarctic Continental Shelf. Earth System Models have also suggested that AABW formation might be reduced or completely shut down during warmer than present climates.

The main focus of this PhD project will be to analyse the geochemistry of sediment cores from the Cape Darnley region of East Antarctica (one of only 4 regions in Antarctica where AABW is formed). The project will look at a range of geochemical proxies to provide evidence of paleo-environmental changes in the region over the last glacial cycle, including evidence for the presence or absence of AABW formation in this region. If the candidate can start by Jan 1st 2023 then there is the opportunity to participate on the research voyage to Cape Darnley in early 2023 on the RV Investigator

Primary Supervisor

Meet Prof Zanna Chase


The successful applicant will receive a scholarship which provides:

  • a living allowance stipend co-funded by a UQ Discovery Grant 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

This project is part of the ARC Australian Centre for Excellence in Antarctic Science (ACEAS). Candidates will be considered and assessed for ACEAS top-up scholarship eligibility (valued at $5,000 per annum for 3.5 years) upon ranking of the applicants by our GRCs and alignment of the project with ACEAS.


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:

  • Critical thinking skills
  • Relevant science degree with chemistry and/or geoscience
  • Good communication (writing, oral)
  • Good quantitative skills

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Chemical laboratory experience, basic coding

Application process

  1. Select your project, and check that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria, including citizenship;
  2. Contact Prof Zanna Chase 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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