Variability in krill transport pathways

Exploring fine-scale variability in over-winter transport pathways of larval krill: An east-west comparison

Degree type

PhD

Closing date

10 October 2022

Campus

Hobart

Citizenship requirement

Domestic/International

About the research project

Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) is a key prey species in the Southern Ocean, as well as the target of its largest fishery. As with many species, survival through the first winter is considered an important driver of population success for krill. Environmental variation is thought to drive large fluctuations in first year populations, which in turn influences krill abundance and exerts a bottom-up control on dependant predators.

This project will use model output from a recently developed, cutting-edge, high-resolution ocean-sea ice model to explore pathways of passive particles during the period between krill spawning in late summer and the following spring when sea ice retreat leads to increased in primary production and food availability.

The aim of the project is to examine variability in the over-winter transport pathways from regions where krill are thought to spawn to where they are observed in large numbers throughout the following summer.

The project will explore this problem from a range of perspectives, including considering the impact of model resolution on pathways and destination, introducing dispersion into the particle tracking routines to understand sensitivity of initial conditions and the different insights that can be gained by considering backward and forward trajectories.

This project will begin by considering the krill population based around the Antarctic Peninsula and Scotia Sea, where the majority of observations and long term datasets are concentrated, however a key component will be using the knowledge gained from this region and extending the study into the strategically important East Antarctic region, centred on Prydz Bay.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Stuart Corney

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.

If successful, the applicant 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.

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:

  • Strong quantitative skills
  • Experience with handling large geophysical datasets
  • Experience with programming languages, analysis and display software such as python, C++, Fortran, IDL, and Matlab

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Experience with remote sensing data
  • Understanding of Southern Ocean physical processes and meteorology, particularly with respect to sea ice
  • Background in fluid dynamics
  • Understanding of Southern Ocean ecosystem dynamics

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 Stuart Corney 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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