PhD Opportunity in Australia

Dear AQUA colleagues,

I am seeking you help in promoting a PhD opportunity that is unfortunately not available to Australians or New Zealanders.

We are seeking a high quality Quaternary/Earth Science/Geography student to undertake a joint University of Adelaide-University of Nottingham PhD project with a four year tax free scholarship.  The student will be awarded a joint University of Adelaide-University of Nottingham PhD.

The student will be studying the following topic:

The hydroclimatic history of the Australian subtropics inferred from Fraser Island lake sediments.

Understanding past hydroclimates are crucial in the Australian subtropics for (a) investigating the geographic expression of Pacific Ocean climate impacts; (b) constraining the full magnitude and causation of extreme droughts/floods, with relevance for future hydrological management; and (c) relating long term ecological change, including the appearance and loss of Australian animal species, to associated climate variability.

In this project, the student will infer past rainfall variation from lake water oxygen isotope proxies and/or the carbon isotope composition of Melaleuca quinquenervia leaves from key Fraser Island<> (Queensland) lakes.  The relationship between leaf carbon isotopes and rainfall is outlined in Tibby et al. (2016) and the project is discussed to some extent in this video<>. Oxygen isotopes would be extracted from aquatic cellulose and/or diatom and phytolith silica. This project will likely incorporate diatom and/or macrofossil analysis from these lakes.  The precise nature of the project, including the timeframe of focus will be negotiated with the successful student.

The student will be based in Geography at The University of Adelaide and supervised by Dr John Tibby<> (Geography) and Dr Jonathan Tyler<> (Department of Earth Sciences).  The student is expected to spend a minimum of 18 months at The University of Nottingham and it is envisaged that much of this time will be spent undertaking carbon and/or oxygen isotope analyses under the supervision of Professor Melanie Leng<>.

We are aiming to decide on a student by the end of September and thus seek expressions of interest (which in the first instance can be informal) by the 20th September to John Tibby.<>

Note that this scholarship is not available to Australian and New Zealand citizens and residents.  Please note that international students should normally have minimum qualifications of a Masters thesis or a first-authored peer-reviewed publication in an international non predatory outlet.

Tibby J, Barr C, McInerney FA, Henderson ACG, Leng MJ, Greenway M, Marshall JC, McGregor GB, Tyler JJ and McNeil V. 2016. Carbon isotope discrimination in leaves of the broad-leaved paperbark tree, Melaleuca quinquenervia, as a tool for quantifying past tropical and subtropical rainfall. Global Change Biology 22(10): 3474-3486.

Please pass on this message to anyone who might be interested, John.

Dr John Tibby
Senior Lecturer
Acting Head of Department (Semester 2, 2017) Department of Geography, Environment and Population