ACEAS Student Projects and Scholarships

From the second half of 2021, a number of PhD research projects related to the research programs of the Centre will be advertised here and on Australian university partner web sites for proposed commencement in January 2022 and beyond.  Applicants will be able to apply for Stipend Scholarships and fee waivers from the participating Australian Universities or from other sources, as well as Top-up Scholarships from ACEAS.

It is anticipated that many PhD graduates will have careers in industry and government, as well as in research and academia.  And, so, ACEAS is committed to training PhD students in their specialist area of research as well as in Antarctic science broadly plus Antarctic policy, governance, and law. The research of ACEAS will have particular focus on end-user engagement and early career researchers will be trained in communicating with those groups and the public through the media (including social media).

If you are interested in undertaking a PhD with ACEAS, please check this page regularly to look for advertised opportunities or contact a relevant supervisor directly.

GPS measurement of deformation of East Antarctica

Program 1 and 3 I UTas

This project will focus on the analysis of GPS data with state-of-the-art techniques in order to better understand the deformation of Antarctica. It will make use of a new set of GPS sites in East Antarctica deployed. It will apply novel techniques to remove time series noise and compare these to numerical models developed from existing codes and from outputs provided by third parties. These results will be important for understanding present-day ice-sheet contribution to sea-level rise and in gaining fundamental understanding into the interior of the Earth. The project will provide students with advanced skills in numerical analysis, interpretation and presentation.

Primary Supervisor: Prof. Matt King


Impact of changes in Southern Ocean sea-ice on the carbon cycle

Program 1 I UNSW

It is hypothesised that the Southern Ocean played a central role in past climate and carbon cycle changes. In addition, the Southern Ocean is one of today’s largest oceanic sink of anthropogenic carbon. The PhD student will perform numerical experiments with Earth system models to better understand how Southern Ocean climate and carbon cycle respond to different forcings, and how this can feedback on other parts of the climate system. More specifically the student will study how changes in Southern Ocean sea-ice impact the marine carbon cycle.

Primary Supervisor: Associate Professor Laurie Menviel


Glacial Isostatic Adjustment in the Denman Glacier region, East Antarctica

Program 1 and 3 I UTas

The Earth continues to deform following past changes in glacial loading and unloading, notably since the Last Glacial Maximum. The Denman Glacier region shows surprisingly low rates of present-day uplift and this is yet to be explained by models of glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA), the ongoing response of the solid Earth to ice-ocean loading changes. This gap in knowledge affects estimates of present-day ice mass change (and hence sea-level change) as GIA is an essential correction to satellite datasets of ice-sheet change.

This project will focus on modelling the deformation of the Denman Glacier region based on new ice history and relative sea-level data, new GPS bedrock velocities, and numerical models of glacial isostatic adjustment and sea-level processes.

Primary Supervisor: Prof. Matt King


PhD Project - Reconstructing the input of bioavailable iron to Antarctic waters

Program 3 I UTas

The input and dissolution of continental material to high nutrient surface waters of the Southern Ocean plays an important role in biogeochemical cycling of carbon because it alleviates iron limitation and stimulates phytoplankton growth. Close to Antarctica, dissolved iron sources include melting sea ice, icebergs calved from glaciers, and upwelled deep waters. The Antarctic Ice Sheet is experiencing rapid changes in response to anthropogenic climate warming. Melting ice shelves and glacier retreat will increase the input of freshwater and dissolved continental material to the surface ocean, but the biological response to these changes (and therefore impact on the global carbon cycle) is unknown. However, we can study the biological and chemical response to past changes in ice sheet retreat recorded in ocean sediments to improve our understanding of how the system might change in the future. The focus of this PhD project is to quantify the dissolved iron flux along the continental margin of East Antarctica in modern and past climate states.

Primary Supervisor: Dr Taryn Noble



Climate variability in satellite observations of Antarctic Ice Sheet change

Program 1 and 3 I UTas

This project focuses on the reasons why the mass of the Antarctic Ice Sheet changes and hence why Antarctica’s contribution to sea level varies over time. The project will make use of two different satellite datasets: 1) revolutionary estimates of ice sheet mass change from the GRACE and GRACE-Follow On missions; and 2) incredibly fine detailed estimates of ice sheet elevation change from a range of satellite altimetry missions.

Primary Supervisor: Prof. Matt King



Developing ways to understand the glacial history of East Antarctica from minerals found in sediments

Program 3 I University of Western Australia

A knowledge of the glacial history of Antarctica is needed to help to predict future effects of a changing climate. This project seeks to develop a more robust technique to better analyse records of past periods as predictors of East Antarctic glacial history.

This PhD project will develop and apply approaches to the analysis of detrital data using a Bayesian probabilistic framework to interrogate models of detrital generation and transport. These techniques will seek to find, for records of past deposition, the most likely state of the erosion and sediment transport system in the past, and in so doing will define the most likely state of the ice sheet and the ocean in Antarctica.

Primary Supervisor: Dr Alan Aitken (UWA)