PhD opportunity on Southern Ocean elemental biogeochemistry, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia

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

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.

Deadline for applications: 27 March 2023

For further information and applications: