Sediment re-suspension in a coastal bay

Understanding sediment re-suspension and transport in a high-energy coastal embayment

Degree type

PhD

Closing date

10 October 2022

Campus

Hobart

Citizenship requirement

Domestic/International

About the research project

Sediment re-suspension and transport is an oceanographic process influencing the intensity and spatial footprint of impacts to coastal ecosystems from aquaculture. In high-energy marine environments, sediment re-suspension and transport can be simultaneously driven by estuarine dynamics, ocean currents, eddies and waves, such as large swell.  These processes are also impacted by the particle grain size and geotechnical properties of the sediment, such as water content. Understanding the relative and combined influence of these drivers is necessary to predict impacts on ecosystems, namely when including these processes in high-resolution biogeochemical models.

Storm Bay is a large coastal embayment in southeast Tasmania influenced by the Derwent Estuary, ocean currents and significant wave action. Aquaculture sites are present in Storm Bay, and therefore, the region has been the focus of several research and monitoring programs in recent years. Through these programs, extensive physico-chemical, biological and geological observational data were collected at various spatial and temporal scales and coupled with regional dynamic models to characterize the hydrography and hydrodynamics, sediment transport, seabed types, and biogeochemistry of the region.

This PhD project aims to use these observational and modelled datasets in Storm Bay to better understand the drivers of sediment re-suspension and transport in this high-energy marine environment. More specifically, the project aims to determine the relative influence of waves, currents and sediment properties on sediment re-suspension and transport at several sites in Storm Bay, place these findings in the context of the distribution of the sediment types, and evaluate how best these processes could be integrated in high-resolution (zone to lease scale) biogeochemical models.

This research will increase our understanding of how coastal oceanographic processes mediate the impacts of aquaculture and enhance our capacity to predict impacts when developing biogeochemical models in high-energy marine environments.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Myriam Lacharite

Funding

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.

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

Eligibility

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

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:

  • Demonstrated quantitative skills, e.g., statistics, applied mathematics, dynamic modelling

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Degree in related field (e.g., Mathematics, Quantitative Marine Science, Physical Oceanography)
  • Previous research experience in physical oceanography, sediment modelling or other dynamic (process-based) modelling

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 Myriam Lacharite 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.

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