PhD position at UQ: restoration of South-East Asian peatlands

Written by Kathryn Amos on . Posted in Opportunities, Student Scholarships

Please find some information below about a joint PhD project between the University of Queensland and the University of Exeter. More details on the application process can be found at

Assessment of the restoration of South-East Asian peatlands through sedimentological and palaeoecological analysis

Associate Professor Patrick Moss, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences UQ, Associate Professor Paul Dargusch, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences Exeter, Dr Angela Gallego-Sala, Geography, Professor Dan Charman, Geography.

The tropical peatlands of South East Asia are a significant storehouse of carbon (~69 Gt of carbon and 77% of global peat carbon), however these peatlands have been extensively drained for agricultural activity and as a results of this there has been a dramatic increase in the frequency and intensity of peatland fires. These fires generate significant carbon emissions and generate air pollution that impacts the health of millions of people. Peatland fire hotspots include the Indonesia islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan but also impact the broader South-East Asian archipelago region.

Around thirteen million hectares of peatland has been degraded and the Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG) of Indonesia has been tasked with accelerating the restoration of 2.5 million hectares of priority degraded peat-domes in Sumatra and Kalimantan. This restoration effort will be achieved through the rewetting of the peat-domes through raising groundwater levels through the damming of canals that have been used to drain peatlands.

An important aspect of this restoration effort is an assessment of how the peat soils and associated vegetation are recovering and the provision of targets to provide an appropriate measure of success. A key way that this can be achieved is through some insight into the state of the peatland soils prior to when they were degraded and the peat soils themselves provides the opportunity to achieve this, as they contain a record, through a range of environmental proxies (including pollen, charcoal, testate amoebae, sediment composition and geochemical properties).

This project will investigate peat domes from Kalimantan and Sumatra using high-resolution sedimentological and palaeoecological analysis (i.e. sub-decadal scale) for the last 500 years. This will provide baseline data that will provide a framework for peat restoration, particularly in terms of an assessment of how successful it is (i.e. what are natural levels of plant biodiversity, peat composition and groundwater hydrology), but also how resilient peat swamp forests and soils are to past periods of environmental change (both anthropogenic and natural climatic impacts). Apply

Submit UQ expression of interest form by 26 May 2018

PhD opportunity in sea level reconstruction

Written by Kathryn Amos on . Posted in Opportunities, Student Scholarships

Sea-Level Reconstructions at subsiding coastlines in New Zealand Project Description Satellite and tide-gauge observations from around the globe show sea level rising at accelerating rates that are projected to continue. Whilst the underlying causes are well understood, much less certain is how different coastal areas will be affected. In tectonically active New Zealand, subsiding coastal areas will exacerbate the effects of ice melt and thermosteric expansion. Recent GPS observations provide a basis for constraining vertical land movement (VLM) and targeting high-risk coastlines, but - much like the recent sea-level observations - they need to be evaluated in a longer term context. For example, we do not know if the direction of VLM observed at one locality has been maintained beyond the few decades for which observations exist.

This project aims to address the problem with a two-pronged approach. First, it will compare existing decadal (instrumental) and centennial (geological) records for sea-level change in New Zealand with recent GPS observations for VLM to provide a national scale assessment of the tectonic impacts of recent sea-level rise. Second, and guided by this first task, the project will develop new centennial-scale sea-level reconstructions at a small number of targeted sites where VLM is likely to have been significant. This second phase of the project will include a substantial amount of fieldwork and labwork, applying proxy methods for reconstructing sea-level change from microfossils (foraminifera and, possibly, diatoms) preserved in salt-marsh sediments. The outcomes of this PhD project will inform local sea-level projections and, more generally, coastal infrastructure providers, national policy statements and hazards and planning guidance documents. This project is also part of a much wider research programme aimed at determining how future sea-level rise will affect New Zealand's coasts.

The studentship will be based at Victoria University of Wellington, but with provision to work for ca. 3 months at University of York, UK. Depending on available skills and experience, the successful applicant will receive training in palaeoecological techniques, modelling, dating methods, and field techniques. The supervisory team includes Victoria supervisors Prof. Rewi Newnham and Dr Andrew Rees (New Zealand Quaternary, modelling and statistical analysis) and Prof. Roland Gehrels at the University of York (UK) (sea-level reconstruction and salt-marsh geology). The project is open to students with a Masters degree in Physical or Environmental Geography, Geology, Environmental Science or a closely-related subject. Relevant field and lab skills and interests in sea-level and climate change are obviously a plus. Experience in using R for analysing environmental data would be beneficial.

Funding Notes and Application Procedure:

Fully funded for 3 years, the studentship covers an annual stipend of $NZ25,000, research costs, and tuition fees. Studentships are available to non-resident New Zealand students (language requirements apply for non-native English speakers).

To apply, please send CV, a brief (one page max.) account of why this position interests you and the names of two academic referees who we may contact in support of your application. Applications close: April 30th 2018 Further inquiries to Rewi Newnham: or Roland Gehrels:

Post-doctoral research position, Quaternary Science Australian Biodiversity and Heritage

Written by Kathryn Amos on . Posted in Job Vacancies, Opportunities

The Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH) is a major new research and education initiative that brings together leading Australian universities with strategically important Australian and international partners. Their goal is to tell the epic story of Australia's rich and distinctive natural and human history by revolutionising our knowledge of the events and processes that have shaped this nation, and combining that knowledge with cutting-edge modelling techniques to manage and protect our natural and cultural resources into the future. Learn more about the Centre at:

There is a position available for a post-doctoral research fellow (two year, fixed-term appointment) for a researcher in Quaternary science who will undertake essential field campaigns and palaeoclimatic/palaeoenvironmental analyses to support the CABAH research program in Australia, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

Individuals with a background in any of the following are encouraged to apply; Quaternary geomorphology, palaeohydrology, geochronology, palaeoclimatology or palaeoecology.

The postdoc vacancy is now live! Link here:

3 year postdoctoral fellow in sedimentology and stratigraphy at the University of Adelaide

Written by Kathryn Amos on . Posted in Job Vacancies, Opportunities

There is a Level A fixed-term full-time postdoctoral fellow position available at the University of Adelaide in the Australian School of Petroleum, available immediately until 2020. Closing date for applications is Monday 8th May.

Advert and further information:

Position requirements

To be successful you should have:

Essential minimum criteria

An undergraduate or Masters degree in geology and a higher degree or near completion in petroleum geoscience (PhD or equivalent) Expertise in the following areas:

Sedimentology and sequence stratigraphy of siliciclastic strata
Dating of strata by using CA-TIMS analyses of zircons
Palynological analysis of Mesozoic strata
Subsurface correlation

Ability to work constructively within a research group (including graduate students, post-docs, senior academic staff and professional staff) and under the direction of a supervisor
Good written (e.g. technical reports and scientific journal publications) and oral communication skills (e.g. seminars and conference presentations)
Evidence of ability to undertake, complete and write-up scientific research (e.g. scientific journal publications)
Ability to undertake fieldwork and participate in oceanic research cruises

Desirable characteristics

A knowledge of the Mesozoic stratigraphy and paleogeography of south and east Australia
An understanding of conventional and unconventional petroleum resources

Please address and upload your responses to the selection criteria section of the position description within the online application. If you have any queries regarding this position, please contact Professor Peter McCabe, Head of School, telephone: +61 (0)8 8313 8036 or email:

Lecturer in Coastal Geomorphology opportunity at the University of Melbourne

Written by Kathryn Amos on . Posted in Job Vacancies, Opportunities

Job opening: c. 4 year fixed term position as Lecturer in Coastal Geomorphology within the School of Geography, University of Melbourne. Applications are invited from all relevant sub-disciplines of coastal research with a preference for experience in Geographic Information Science and/or remote sensing. Closing date for applications: 25 Jun 2017

Two PhD Projects at the University of Adelaide

Written by Kathryn Amos on . Posted in Opportunities


Depositional Environments and Palaeogeography of the Neoproterozoic to Cambrian in the Flinders Ranges

Summary of potential research projects

The Flinders Ranges in South Australia present excellent surface exposures of the Neoproterozoic-Cambrian Adelaide Rift Complex, including sediments deposited in fluvial-deltaic to deep marine environments, large canyons and salt-diapir formed minibasins. These have great significance globally, as the Tonian to Cryogenian succession hosts key sections demonstrating extreme climatic variations through this time, whereas the upper part of the Ediacaran succession hosts exceptional palaeontological evidence for the evolution of multi-cellular life, thus representing a key time in Earth history. In addition, the sedimentary record of the Flinders Ranges has great potential for use as an analogue for similar successions in the subsurface, including hydrocarbon systems in some of the world’s most productive regions, for which there are few outcrop analogues that are as well exposed as they are here.

The rift complex formed as Rodinia split apart, yet the timing and tectonic geography of this are highly contentious with arguments about the identification of the conjugate eastern continent and the timing of rift-drift as the nascent Pacific Ocean developed. Broad palaeogeographic maps exist for the region, but by integrating sedimentology with modern geochronological techniques, these projects aim to document the sediment distribution systems, provenance evolution and tectono-geographic evolution of the Adelaide Rift Complex. There is a great potential for new detailed description and interpretation of these successions, many of which have not been previously studied, or not studied from a detailed sedimentologic perspective. The findings of this research will have broad impact.

Depending on the skills and interests of the successful applicants, potential project foci could include:
• What was the large-scale tectonic geography of the area in the Neoproterozoic? What was the open-ocean connection, when and where was this?
• Detailed interpretation of the depositional environments of the large canyons within the upper Ediacaran.
• Formulation of forward model concepts that describe dynamics of the mechanisms hypothesised to have driven canyon forming.
• Sedimentology of the Cambrian section, and potentially expansion of focus to explore a comparison between this and other Centralian Superbasin basins (e.g. the Officer and Amadeus). This could potentially become a basin-to-basin comparison between analogous strata. Basic correlations have been presented previously, but this has not been done from a detailed sedimentology, provenance, and geochemistry perspective.
• Relation of the middle Cambrian of the Flinders Ranges to the formation of circum-Gondwana orogenesis directly after the supercontinent amalgamated (i.e. a focus on sedimentology, provenance and age-dating).

Methods will include extensive fieldwork in the central and northern Flinders Ranges, involving basic geological field mapping techniques along with constructing detailed stratigraphic logs, in order to investigate sediment thickness, facies variations. Laboratory work will enable improved age constraints on the formations and likely involve U-Pb zircon and apatite, fission track detrital apatite and 40Ar-39Ar detrital muscovite analysis.

Up to two projects are available, with:
Principal supervisors: Dr Kathryn Amos and Prof Alan Collins
Co-Supervisors from a team of: Dr Mark Bunch, Dr Ros King and Dr Stijn Glorie

Eligibility and funding: If interested in this project, you need to apply to Dr Kathryn Amos ( to express interest and discuss your suitability, ASAP! A keen interest and background in sedimentology and field geology is required. You will need to have a 1st class or Upper 2nd class Honours degree (or predicted grades if you’re doing Honours this year), or a relevant Master’s degree that contains a significant research component.

The successful candidate will then need to successfully apply for a University of Adelaide Domestic Scholarship (including the Australian Postgraduate Award and Divisional Scholarships - Australian and New Zealand Residents are eligible to apply). The deadline for this is October 31st . You would need to commence study before 31st March 2017.

Funding is available to cover research expenses and attendance of at least one international conference.

How to apply: Contact Dr Kathryn Amos with your expression of interest. Please attach a copy of your degree transcripts if you are not a University of Adelaide student or graduate.

More information:
Dr Kathryn Amos,
Prof. Alan Collins,
Dr Mark Bunch,

Australian School of Petroleum and School of Physical Sciences, Centre for Tectonics, Resources and Exploration, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia.

Further details on scholarships:

Note: This is not open to international applicants as the deadline for International Postgraduate Research Scholarships for Semester 1 2017 has passed.


Lectureship and PhD opportunities

Written by Kathryn Amos on . Posted in Job Vacancies, Opportunities, Student Scholarships

PhD opportunity in palaeoenvironmental reconstruction at James Cook University. As part of an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship, Professor Michael Bird is seeking to appoint a PhD student in the general areas of sedimentology, geochemistry and/or palynology. The Laureate project will produce terrestrial records of environmental change before, during and after the arrival of humans in Australian tropical savannas. Applicants with a Masters Degree or a First Class Honours degree and an appropriate background in Earth Sciences, Physical Geography or Archaeology should contact Michael Bird for further information ( Closing date for expressions of interest: June 30th, 2016 Start date: as soon as possible.

Three new Level B Lecturer in Geography positions have been advertised by the University of Queensland. One of their forward foci areas is coastal and marine physical processes and geohazards. Applications close 10th June. The advertisement and application details can be found here