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The biogeochemistry of trace elements in the Australian sector of the Southern Ocean: GEOTRACES-SR3 repeat section from Tasmania to Antarctica

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  • Full or part time
    Prof Andrew Bowie
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

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 exciting PhD 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 Australia to the Antarctic sea ice edge.

The candidate will join a research team on a 42 day oceanographic voyage of the Marine National Facility’s Research Vessel ‘Investigator’ in the Southern Ocean in early 2018, that will study the marine biogeochemistry of trace elements and their isotopes (TEIs) along the SR3 section (~140oE), a signature field program of the ACE CRC. 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 form and sufficiency of micronutrient trace elements in the Southern Ocean, and their relationships to changing 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.

Funding Notes

Lodge an application for candidature and scholarship online through the University’s Online Application portal, StudyLink by 30th September 2017.

Suitable for graduates with degrees in :
Chemistry (preferably Analytical), any Earth or Environmental Science discipline, Oceanography/Marine Science.

Essential skills/experience:
Experience working in a laboratory, where attention to detail is important
Knowledge of geochemistry, biological science and analytical chemistry
Excellent written and oral communication skills
Excellent organisational skills and self-motivation

Desirable skills/experience:
Familiarity with marine biogeochemistry
Experience working at sea
Familiarity with biogeochemical modelling tools, software and platforms


Bowie, A. R., Lannuzel D., Remenyi T.A., Wagener T., Lam P.J., Boyd P.W., Guieu C., Townsend A.T., Trull T.W. (2009). Biogeochemical iron budgets of the Southern Ocean south of Australia: Decoupling of iron and nutrient cycles in the subantarctic zone by the summertime supply. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 23, GB4034, doi:10.1029/2009GB003500
Bowie A.R., Townsend A.T., Lannuzel D., Remenyi T., van der Merwe P. (2010). Modern sampling and analytical methods for the determination of trace elements in marine particulate material using magnetic sector ICP-MS. Analytica Chimica Acta, 676, 15-27
Boyd, P.W. et al. (2000). A mesoscale phytoplankton bloom in the polar Southern Ocean stimulated by iron fertilisation of waters, Nature 407, 695-702
Boyd, P. and Ellwood, M. (2010). The biogeochemical cycle of iron in the ocean, Nature Geoscience, vol. 3, no. 10, pp. 675-682, doi:10.1038/ngeo964
GEOTRACES Science Plan (2006). Available at:
Jickells T.D., An Z.S., Andersen K.K., Baker A.R., Bergametti G., Brooks N. et al. (2005). Global iron connections between desert dust, ocean biogeochemistry, and climate. Science 308, 67-71
Mawji, E., et al. (2015). The GEOTRACES Intermediate Data Product 2014, Mar. Chem. (2015),
Rhein, M. et al. (2013). Observations: Ocean. In: Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, 255‐315. doi:10.1017/CBO9781107415324.010
Sedwick P.N., Bowie A.R., Trull T.W. (2008). Dissolved iron in the upper ocean along the CLIVAR SR3 section (Australian sector of the Southern Ocean): Meridional and seasonal trends. Deep-Sea Research I 55(8), 911-925
Sokolov, S. and S. R. Rintoul, 2009. The circumpolar structure and distribution of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current fronts. Part 1: Mean circumpolar paths. Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans, 114, C11, doi:10.1029/2008JC005108
Sokolov, S. and S. R. Rintoul, 2009. The circumpolar structure and distribution of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current fronts. Part 2: Variability and relationship to sea surface height. Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans, 114, C11, doi:10.1029/2008JC005248
Tagliabue, A., Mtshali, T., Aumont, O., Bowie, A. R., Klunder, M. B., Roychoudhury, A. N., and Swart, S. (2012). A global compilation of dissolved iron measurements: focus on distributions and processes in the Southern Ocean, Biogeosciences, 9, 2333‐2349, doi:10.5194/bg‐9‐2333‐2012
Tagliabue A., Bowie A.R., Boyd P.W., Buck K.N., Johnson K.S., Saito M.A. (2017). The integral role of iron in ocean biogeochemistry. Nature 543, 51–59, doi:10.1038/nature21058

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