Job Position: 
Graduate Opportunities
Closing Date: 
Friday, February 16, 2018

We are seeking a highly motivated PhD student for a newly funded ARC project on island resilience to tropical cyclones and sea level rise.

The PhD student will join an interdisciplinary team of researchers based at Curtin University and The University of Western Australia (UWA) to develop reef net carbonate production and sediment transport models under varying environmental conditions to assess low lying island development and stability. The project will involve several field trips to the Pilbara region in Western Australia as well as laboratory experiments in Curtin’s Centre of Aquaculture Research Laboratories (CARL). Funds will also be available for domestic and international conference travel.

Project description
The aim of this fully funded PhD project is to model reef carbonate production with environmental change and sea level rise for reefs surrounding low lying islands in the Pilbara. The Pilbara region contains Australia’s largest sand island archipelago that is of both high biological (sea birds and turtle rookeries) and commercial value (infrastructure for oil and gas industries). Biological carbonate production (e.g. corals and crustose coralline algae) and processes that remove carbonates (e.g. urchin and parrot fish erosion) are key components of a reef’s carbonate budget that will vary with light, pH, temperature and water flow. Modelling carbonate production with environmental change will be a critical component of assessing the longer-term stability of low-lying carbonate islands that depend on carbonate sediment supply from the surrounding reefs. In addition, the student will work closely with researchers on reef and island accretionary history, and sediment transport models thereby gaining additional skills in reef core collection and analysis, and hydrodynamic modelling. This is an exciting, multidisciplinary project that will develop skills in reef ecology and coral physiology, sedimentology and hydrodynamics, and paleoecology.

Project supervisors
This project is a collaborative project between Curtin University and the University of Western Australia. The project will be jointly supervised by Dr Nicola Browne (Curtin University), Dr Mick O’Leary (Curtin University) and Prof Ryan Lowe (UWA). The successful candidate will receive a living stipend of $26,682 per annum.

The applicant must have completed an undergraduate degree in Environmental Science, Environmental Biology or Marine Biology with a First Class Honours degree (or equivalent) in Marine Biology or Ecology. The successful applicant must also have field experience and SCUBA qualifications. Experience in experimental design and analysis is desirable.
This three year award is only open to Australian citizens and Australian permanent residents.

Please send your expressions of interest including a CV, academic transcripts and a brief cover letter to Dr Nicola Browne ( by the 16th February 2018.

Contact Name: 
Dr Nicola Browne
Job Location: