Southern Ocean elemental biogeochemistry

The biogeochemistry of trace elements in the Southern Ocean: MISO-GEOTRACES section from Australia to Antarctica

Degree type

PhD

Closing date

27 March 2023

Campus

Hobart

Citizenship requirement

Domestic/International

About the research project

The Southern Ocean influences climate, sea level, biogeochemical cycles and marine productivity on global scales. Observations suggest that rapid change is already underway in the Southern Ocean, but the measurements are sparse and hence the nature, causes and implications of Southern Ocean change are not yet understood. This project will contribute to a multi-disciplinary observational program measuring a comprehensive suite of physical and biogeochemical variables along a full depth repeat hydrographic section extending from western Australia to the Antarctic sea ice edge.

The candidate will join a research team on a 59-day voyage (‘MISO’ project) of the Marine National Facility’s Research Vessel ‘Investigator’ in early 2024 that will study the marine biogeochemistry of trace elements and their isotopes (TEIs) along the I9S section (~115oE), a signature field program of the Australian Antarctic Program Partnership (AAPP). Following the fieldwork, the candidate will participate in laboratory analyses and experiments using state-of-the-art facilities and instrumentation to determine the distributions, physico-chemical forms and sufficiency of micronutrient trace elements in the Southern Ocean, focussing on elements that have been rarely studied in this region. This will be expanded to investigate trace metal/carbon and trace metal/nutrient (e.g., Cd/P, Zn/Si) relationships across different Southern Ocean water masses, how they vary seasonally and spatially, and may change under future environmental conditions. In the latter stages, this project will feed vital information on the prevalence and flux of trace elements into biogeochemical and ecosystem models of the region.

Our observational strategy has strong collaborative activity under the auspices of the international GEOTRACES program (international study of global marine biogeochemical cycles of trace elements and their isotopes). This research will provide the critical information on trace elements biogeochemistry for ocean productivity and marine ecosystem health, providing the science for predicting a key factor in the future impact of the oceans on climate.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Prof Andrew Bowie

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 $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.

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.

Eligibility

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

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applications are open to Domestic/ International/ Onshore applicants
  • Applications are open to students from Chemistry (preferably Analytical), any Earth or Environmental Science discipline, Oceanography/Marine Science discipline backgrounds
  • English language score must be above minimum entry requirements for this project
  • 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 desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • A strong interest in the biogeochemistry of trace elements in the ocean or the atmosphere would be desirable

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 Andrew Bowie 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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