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Fossiliferous Amber as a Portal into Ancient Greenhouse Ecosystems of Southern Australia: the Paleogene Gondwana Connection

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Project Description

A PhD position is available to work with Associate Professor Jeffrey Stilwell at Monash University, School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment, in Melbourne, Australia in collaboration with national and international palaeontologists. We are looking for motivated, talented and enthusiastic PhD students with an interest in palaeontology, specifically amber and associated studies of diverse bioinclusions in ancient resin. The project is cutting-edge in the field with excellent resources, including state-of-the art facilities and advanced imaging systems, The Applied Palaeontology and Basins Group provides an outstanding opportunity for all students. To learn more, visit

Project details

The remarkable recent discovery of the first fossiliferous, in situ amber (ancient tree resin) in Australia preserved exquisitely with diverse animals, plants and microorganisms in 3¬D with the finest of morphologic details will be investigated and explored throughout the tenure of the PhD in collaboration with Assoc. Prof. Stilwell and his team and engagement of Museums Victoria (MV) scientists and technical officers, and other palaeontologists globally. Fossils entombed in amber are valued highly in science and the wider global community, as they inspire people of all ages and further astound scientists with the sheer volume of information gleaned from the beautifully preserved fossils. Exciting outcomes will be collaborative field studies, interactive workshops, public outreach activities, including an intended major future exhibition(s) and formal publications of key specimens recovered from the project. Importantly, the results of this pioneering palaeontology study will attract much national and international attention as the PhD applicant and researchers identify the first fossil assemblages in Australia dated to ~55 to 40 million years old when they lived in and close to habitats close to the resin-producing forests in southern Gondwana prior to final supercontinent break-up. Moreover, these finds open up an entirely new window of research opportunities, as Australia has not been a major player in amber palaeontology worldwide until now.

Scholarship details

The 3.5 year award includes all course fees and a $26,000 AUD per year tax-free stipend. Project costs will be borne through grants awarded to Assoc. Prof. Jeff Stilwell.

Monash and the School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment

Monash is a member of the Group of Eight, a coalition of top Australian universities recognized for their excellence in teaching and research. The School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment is a dynamic unit with strengths in geoscience, palaeontology and basin studies. The University is located in Melbourne, one of the most liveable cities in the world and a cultural and recreational hub.

Application process

Interested candidates should send their CV, academic transcripts and a brief outline of research interests and motivation to . Applicants must possess a Bachelor’s or equivalent degree with first-class Honours, MSc or MPhil degree in a relevant subject (e.g., palaeontology, biology, zoology, earth science/geoscience). Review of applications will begin immediately and short-listed candidates will be contacted for more information and invited to interview.

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