OUR STUDENTS

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Daniel Atwater
PhD Student

E: daniel.atwater@utas.edu.au

Date Commenced: 03.05.2021

Accurate simulation of Antarctic landfast sea ice and its impacts

Project 6: Sea Ice

This PhD project aims to model fast ice in the East Antarctic which will elucidate the primary mechanism for the observed variation and changes of the continental shelf sea-ice mass while laying the ground work for building a forecasting model. The focus of this project will be to re-design an existing ice-ocean model to include realistic Antarctic fast ice. Then using this new East Antarctic Fast Ice Model, I will perform a series  of synthetic experiments to determine the drivers of this fast ice and the role of dense water formation along the continental shelf. This should elucidate the recent shift in sea-ice mass extent and allow for future models to better incorporate sea-ice into Earth system models with a higher degree of confidence. 

More about the Project & Daniel

Supervisors

Alexander Fraser (IAAPP)
Will Hobbs (AAPP)
Phil Reid (BoM)
Wilma Huneke (ANU)
Paul Sandery (CSIRO)

Biography

I am a graduate of the University of California Santa Cruz Institute of Marine Science, where I completed a Masters of Ocean Science investigating the wave dynamics of Monterey Bay in relation to coastal geometry as measured from coastal ocean radars. Before this, as an undergraduate at California State University Monterey Bay, I completed an honours project (Capstone Thesis) on a Miniaturised System for Particle Exposure Assessment. This was built on work completed during a year-long Fellowship at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

I have served in two militaries, with a combined service experience of nine years. In my late teens, I gained over 1000 hours as a flight deck fire fighter aboard a nuclear aircraft carrier on operations in the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean Sea. More recently, in the RAN, I led small teams on the bridge of a guided missile frigate (and other vessels) with over 3,500 hours and over 30,000 nautical miles travelled in this capacity.

I am currently employed as a Meteorological & Oceanographic (METOC) Officer in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) charged with providing International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) compliant aviation forecasts as well as tactical ocean forecast summaries and daily forecast briefs to both military and civilian stakeholders and decisions-makers.

On the other side of my professional experience, I have been employed as a researcher and lecturer for positions in five universities with over fifteen years as a certified radar technician, project manager, computer programmer, data manager and coastal oceanographer.

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Katherine (Katy) Baker
PhD Student

E: katherine.baker@imas.edu.au

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Date Commenced: 01.12.2021

Understanding the role of micronekton in the export of carbon in the Southern Ocean

Project 5: BiogeochemistryProject 7: Krill and Ecosystems

An important, yet understudied component of the biological carbon pump in the Southern Ocean is the active transport of carbon by micronekton (taxonomically diverse pelagic animals between 2-20cm), known as the mesopelagic migrant pump. A significant portion of the micronekton community undertakes daily vertical migration where they move from the mesopelagic layer (200–1000m) to the epipelagic layer (0–200m) at night to feed. Micronekton contribute to the export of atmospheric carbon by feeding in the surface layers and excreting carbon rich faeces in the deep, yet little is known about the extent of carbon they transport. Using data and samples collected during the AAPP 2020/2021 SOLACE (Southern Ocean Large Area Carbon Export) voyage, I aim to gain a better understanding of the role micronekton play in the carbon cycle by linking the ecology and biogeochemistry of micronekton in the Southern Ocean. This project fits within the Biogeochemistry (theme 2) and Krill and Ecosystems (theme 3) AAPP projects. This project will also contribute to international efforts of the Joint Exploration of the Twilight Zone Ocean Network (JETZON, https://www.jetzon.org/).

More about the Project & Katy

Supervisors and their affiliation:

Prof. Philip Boyd (AAPP & IMAS), A/Prof. Kerrie Swadling (IMAS), Dr. Ben Scoulding (CSIRO)

Biography

I am interested in the interface between ecology, biogeochemistry, and the remote sensing used to help us gain insight into these processes. In 2019, I completed a M.Sc. in Marine Biology at James Cook University, Townsville. My masters work focused on investigating the use of acoustic backscatter to identify potential scallop habitats from substrate properties. Since then, I have worked as a research assistant at IMAS across interdisciplinary projects based in Taroona and Salamanca including exploring the effect of seismic surveys on marine taxa. In December 2020 I participated in the AAPP SOLACE (Southern Ocean Large Area Carbon Export) voyage to the Southern Ocean. Here, we used a suite of complementary sampling techniques to understand the micronekton community composition and extent of their diel vertical migration. I will extend on this research by integrating the biogeochemistry of mesopelagic biota through my Ph. D. at the University of Tasmania.

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Camilla (Millie) Crockart
PhD Student

E: camilla.crockart@utas.edu.au

Date Commenced: 01.10.2020

Developing palaeoclimate records to interrogate Indian Ocean continent climate coherencies from East Antarctic ice core records

Project 1: Atmosphere / Project 2: Ice Cores 

The PhD project aim is to develop ice core records of climate from the southern Indian Ocean to explore signals and causes of hydroclimate coherencies between Australia and southern Africa. I will use ice core records of aerosols (representing Southern Ocean wind variability) and snowfall accumulation (precipitation) from two coastal East Antarctic ice cores: Mount Brown South and Law Dome. I will explore the atmospheric dynamics controlling the teleconnections between Mount Brown South/Law Dome and southern Africa/Australia using atmospheric reanalyses and climate model outputs to determine drivers of climate variability in the recent era and millennium. 

More about the Project & Millie

Supervisors :

Tessa Vance (IMAS/AAPP)
Alexander Fraser (IMAS/AAPP)
Taryn Noble (IMAS)
Nerilie Abram (ANU)
Andrew Klekociuk (AAD/AAPP)

AAPP Objective:

The project aligns with the AAPP Objective as it will help to better constrain regional climate variability over the last 1,000-2,000 years in the southern Indian Ocean (including links to Australia and southern Africa) using ice cores, atmospheric reanalyses and climate model outputs

Biography

I recently started a Ph.D. (University of Tasmania, with Tessa Vance, Alexander Fraser, Taryn Noble, Nerilie Abram and Andrew Klekociuk), working on developing records of climate in the southern Indian Ocean using high-resolution ice cores collected from East Antarctica. I have a particular intertest in southern African and Australian rainfall variability over the past millennium. In 2018, I completed a B.S. (Marine Science major, University of Western Australia), and in 2020 I completed  a Masters of Marine and Antarctic Science (University of Tasmania, with Tessa Vance and Alexander Fraser). My Masters project involved the preliminary analysis of a new East Antarctic ice core collected from Mount Brown South. During this time I worked as a Research Assistant at the University of Tasmania, which involved operating and developing methods for a line-scanner machine that produces high-resolution scans of ice cores, and contributed to the routine preparation of trace chemistry clean ice core samples for analysis. In February 2020, I presented a talk at the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (AMOS) Conference in Perth. I also received the AMOS Regional Award for Academic Achievement for my Masters Thesis.

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Laura Dalman
PhD Student

E: laura.dalman@utas.edu.au

Date Commenced: 15.11.2020

Physical controls of Southern Ocean ice-associated primary production

Project 6: Sea Ice

This PhD project aims to understand the physical influences on the spatial and temporal variability of ice algae and phytoplankton in the Southern Ocean. Linking existing ship-based underway data with satellite-derived sea-ice concentration data and using novel data streams from under-ice BGC floats, this project aims to detect and investigate drivers of the spatial distribution and temporal development of under-ice phytoplankton blooms off East Antarctica. This study will also provide the first time-series of ice algal accumulation for Antarctic land-fast sea ice, which will improve our parameterization of ice algal dynamics into global productivity models.

More about the Project & Laura

Supervisors and their affiliation:

Christina Schallenberg1; Klaus Meiners2,3; Sophie Bestley1; Alex Fraser3

1 Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia

2 Australian Antarctic Division, Antarctic Climate Program, Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment

3 Australian Antarctic Program Partnership, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia

AAPP Objective:

This project contributes to address AAPP objectives on the effects of sea-ice change on primary productivity and biogeochemical processes in the Southern Ocean by combining quantitative analyses of ship-based and BGC-Argo data, remote sensing products, and newly collected in-situ data.

Biography

I am interested in how physical and biological processes influence the magnitude, composition, and phenology of marine primary production and nutrient dynamics. I completed my BSc hons (Dalhousie University) in 2015 and successfully defended my MSc (University of Manitoba) in 2018. My masters focused on how natural physical gradients influence sea ice algal communities in the Arctic, particularly how under-ice currents and riverine input can influence nutrient dynamics and ice algal biomass. For this work, I received the Weir Award for the most outstanding master’s thesis and a Fellowship in Arctic Research for leadership and excellence in Arctic research. I have been fortunate to participate in several field campaigns in the Arctic, including leading a successful one-month-long ice camp with our international collaborators while a graduate student. Since then, I have worked as a research associate at the Centre for Earth Observation Science (University of Manitoba), examining how biological processes are affected by freshwater input into the marine system before starting my Ph.D. at the University of Tasmania

Guo Jiaying

Jiaying Guo
PhD Student

E: jiaying.guo@utas.edu.au

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Date Commenced: 15.01.2022

Impacts of alkalinity enhancement on SO plankton-Impacts of carbonate chemistry and trace metal perturbations related to ocean alkalinity enhancement on Southern Ocean plankton communities

Project 7: Krill and Ecosystems

The Southern Ocean has recently been identified as a hot spot for alkalinity enhancement, due to its unique chemical and physical conditions. The Southern Ocean displays the great regional mean carbon-uptake efficiencies. Biological productivity in the Southern Ocean is limited by iron, and potentially by other trace metals. Thus, the large-scale trace metal perturbations associated with ocean alkalinity enhancement would likely affect productivity and ecosystem structure. My project aims to identify the vulnerability of Southern Ocean plankton communities to perturbations associated with ocean alkalinity enhancement. These are mainly carbonate chemistry perturbations (increasing pH), trace metal enrichment and potentially silicate fertilization. The overarching goal is to understand how these perturbations individually and/or combined will (i) change the physiological performance of key Southern Ocean phytoplankton species, (ii) affect higher trophic levels such as krill or copepods who feed on phytoplankton, and (iii) change the composition of Southern Ocean phytoplankton communities.

More about the Project & Jiaying

Supervisors and their affiliation:

Lennart Bach1, Robert Strzepek2, Kerrie Swadling1

1 Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia.

2 Australian Antarctic Program Partnership, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia.

Biography

I completed my bachelor’s degree at Xiamen University, China. I finished my master’s degree in marine and Antarctic Science at the University of Tasmania. During my master research project, I got to know the ocean alkalinity enhancement (OAE) projects which aim to store more CO2 in the ocean by increasing the ocean alkalinity. I investigated the impacts of OAE-related nickel enhancement on various phytoplankton’s growth. Now I am interested in how other trace metals perturbations will influence the phytoplankton and zooplankton community.

Margaret Harlan

Margaret (Meg) Harlan
PhD Student

E: margaret.harlan@utas.edu.au

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Date Commenced: 15.02.2021

Volcanic fertilization of the Kerguelen Plateau

Project 1: AtmosphereProject 2: Ice Cores

This interdisciplinary project aims to use the high-resolution record from the Mount Brown South and other East Antarctic ice cores, together with atmospheric circulation models to investigate how the volcanism of the Heard and McDonald Islands impact the iron supply and biological productivity of the surrounding region. We aim to use ice core tephra sampling to extend the Heard Island volcanic record and investigate the ways that local volcanic activity impacts the biogeochemistry of the Southern Ocean and expand our understanding of the potential role of regional volcanism in confounding climate reconstructions.

More about the Project & Meg

Supervisors and their affiliation:

Tessa Vance (IMAS/AAPP), Delphine Lannuzel (IMAS), Jodi Fox (IMAS), Helle Kjær (University of Copenhagen, NBI - PICE), Anders Svensson (University of Copenhagen, NBI - PICE).

AAPP Objective:

This project fits within the Ice Cores, Atmospheres, and Biogeochemistry AAPP projects, and addresses AAPP objectives using ice core data and atmospheric modeling to contribute to our understanding of volcanic impacts on the biogeochemistry of the Southern Indian Ocean region.

Biography

I am interested in the ways that ice cores provide a means of time travel to help us learn about the past, present, and future of the planet. In 2016, I completed both a B.S. in Environmental Science, and a B.A. in Dance from Tulane University, where my scientific research focused on timescales of change in river delta geomorphology. I subsequently worked as a primary/elementary school environmental educator in public school and nonprofit settings, before moving to Denmark to start my masters. In 2020, I completed an M.Sc. in Climate Change at the University of Copenhagen. My masters work involved producing a new continuous flow analysis record of the of the 40-year-old Greenlandic Dye-3 ice core, providing new, high-resolution data records of the Glacial and early Holocene sections. Since then, I have worked as a Research Assistant with the Physics of Ice, Climate and Earth (PICE) at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen, where I continued my work with the Dye-3 ice core. In February 2021, I started a PhD at IMAS at the University of Tasmania, enrolled as a double degree/cotutelle student at the University of Copenhagen.

Xinlong Liu

Xinlong Liu
PhD Student

E: xinlong.liu@utas.edu.au

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Date Commenced: 19.11.2022

Deriving accurate sea ice (and snow) thickness near-real time estimates for the East Antarctic region

Project 6: Sea Ice

My PhD project focuses on the sea-ice thickness distribution in the East Antarctic region by using both satellite data and in situ measurements, the latter for evaluation. During this process, snow depth over sea ice will also be calculated.

This project mainly contributes to AAPP Theme 3 Project 6: Sea Ice. Antarctic sea ice has great impacts on global climate change mainly through altering and regulating the ice albedo feedback. It also provides habitats for Antarctic krill, a key species which play a significant role in the Antarctic ecosystem.

The drivers of changes in Antarctic sea ice are not fully understood. Specifically, the Antarctic sea ice thickness has significant impacts on the Antarctic climate. Sea ice thickness determines a number of significant fluxes in Antarctic such as the air-ocean heat flux and the fresh water and salt fluxes among different ocean parts. By deriving the sea ice thickness in the East Antarctic region through the satellite data and evaluating it with the in situ measurements, we can obtain some relatively accurate estimates of its spatial and temporal distributions as well as their seasonal, annual, and decadal changes during the satellite era.

Such results could contribute to the first key question of Project 6: How is the East Antarctic sea ice environment varying and changing, and which processes are responsible for these changes? Accurately estimated sea ice thickness changes in the East Antarctic region could help us know more about changes in response to climate change during the past three decades and the impacts of these changes on Antarctic and global climate.

More about the Project & Xinlong

Supervisors and their affiliation:

Dr Stuart Corney: Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania;
Centre for Marine Socioecology, University of Tasmania; Australian Antarctic Program
Partnership, University of Tasmania.
Dr Petra Heil: Australian Antarctic Division; Australian Antarctic Program Partnership,
University of Tasmania.
Dr Rachel Tilling: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; Earth System Science
Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland

Biography

I graduated from the IMAS-Ocean University of China 2+2 Program (K4C) with a Bachelor of Marine and Antarctic Science with Honours in the University of Tasmania and a Bachelor of Science (Marine Sciences) in the Ocean University of China. My Honours project was about Characteristics and Trends of the Campbell Plateau Meander in the Southern Ocean, supervised by Dr Amelie Meyer and Dr Chris Chapman. Now we are working on the adaptation of my Honours thesis into a manuscript that could be submitted to a journal. I am interested in climate change, Antarctic science and the Southern Ocean, with a particular interest in the Southern Ocean fronts and meanders and the Antarctic sea ice.

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Camila Cataldo Mendez
PhD Student

E: camila.cataldomendez@utas.edu.au

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Date Commenced: 23.05.2022

Use of biomarkers to trace how changing sea ice affects the ecological roles of Antarctic krill and zooplankton in the Southern Ocean

Project 7: Krill and Ecosystems

Given the likelihood of additional ice-free days throughout the summer, determining how krill and zooplankton grazers exploit sea-ice habitat is critical to understanding reactions to changes in sea-ice seasonality and coverage. This research will use stable isotopes, highly branched isoprenoids, and DNA and eDNA metabarcoding, together with ecosystem modelling to build quick and repeatable approaches for characterising krill and zooplankton predation across large geographical and temporal dimensions. This research aims to give ecological data to a long-term monitoring plan for spatial management of the krill fishery in East Antarctica's marginal ice zone.

This project aligns closely to project 7 (krill and ecosystems) and links with project 6 (sea-ice) by unravelling the dependency of the former, krill (and other local zooplankton grazers) to sea-ice algae located within and surrounding the marginal ice zone of East Antarctica. This project seeks to better understand the magnitude of dependency as well as the potential responses to future change of this important habitat.

More about the Project & Camila

Supervisors and their affiliation:

Dr Christine Weldrick IMAS/AAPP, A/Prof Kerrie Swadling IMAS/AAPP, Dr Leonie Suter AAD

Biography

I am particularly interested in Antarctic krill and zooplankton ecology, focusing on biochemical tools. Recently I’ve gained interest in the use of ecosystem modelling as a tool to study and predict food web responses to environmental changes.

In 2019, I completed a bachelor and honours in Marine Biology at Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepcion, Chile. My Honours work depicted the biochemical characteristics of benthic communities impacted by glacier melt in the Antarctic Peninsula. This project introduced me to Antarctic research and gave me the drive to move to Australia to pursue a career in research. In 2021, I graduated from the University of Tasmania with a Master in Marine and Antarctic Science. My masters work focused on investigating the energy content and demographic characteristics of Antarctic krill swarms and related these findings with whale occurrence. Now I moved out of the specific krill-whale relationship and broadened my scope by looking at the energy content of all trophic levels and using biomarkers to depict trophic relationships.

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Zhangcheng Pei
PhD Student

E: zhangcheng.pei@utas.edu.au

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Date Commenced: 01.08.2022

Southern Ocean clouds: Can we do better?

Project 1: Atmosphere

Clouds over the Southern Ocean and Antarctica remain poorly characterized by climate and weather models, which has led to significant biases in other aspects of the climate system, including sea ice, sea surface temperatures and precipitation. Part of this issue is due to a lack of observations in the region, which has meant that the processes important for cloud formation in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic have been understudied.

In this project we will identify the best model configuration available to most accurately represent cloud and precipitation processes over the Southern Ocean and Antarctic region, in comparison to recent field campaigns and using the most recent model evaluation tools. By testing different configurations and altering how clouds and precipitation are parameterised, we will be able to gain a better understanding of the processes that are important for the region.

This project aligns with the Atmosphere project within the AAPP. The project aims to evaluate how well the ACCESS model can simulate clouds and precipitation over the Southern Ocean and Antarctic. This knowledge will help us improve the representation of clouds in our climate and weather models and will be of importance to a number of multi-disciplinary ACCESS users both with-in Australia (BoM, CSIRO), and to users of the Unified Model family (e.g., United Kingdom Met Office).

More about the Project & Zhangcheng

Supervisors and their affiliation:

Sonya Fiddes (IMAS/AAPP), Marc Mallet (IMAS/AAPP), Simon Alexander (AAD/AAPP), Nathan Bindoff (IMAS/AAPP)

Biography

I got my bachelor’s degree at the Ocean University of China and the University of Tasmania. I completed my Honours project at IMAS in 2022, which is about assessing the cloud radiative bias in ACCESS-AM2 model at Macquarie Island. My PhD project is about evaluating and improving the climate models in simulating clouds and precipitation properties over the Southern Ocean and Antarctica with the latest in-situ observations. I hope to contribute to the model development and help understanding the clouds over the Southern Ocean through my PhD.

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Pimnara (Nia) Riengchan
PhD Student

E: pimnara.riengchan@utas.edu.au

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Date Commenced: 07.03.2022

Seasonal changes in calcification depth, population structure and shell morphology of Southern Ocean pteropods

Project 7: Krill and Ecosystems

As surface aragonite undersaturation events start to rapidly spread at the end of this decade and cover approximately 30% of the Southern Ocean surface by 2060, this PhD project will be the first study to explore the specific depth ranges where Southern Ocean pteropods typically form their aragonite shells known as the ‘calcification depth’. By combining the study of seasonal changes in population stability, biological mechanisms and shell morphology, this project aims to improve understanding of whether and how these indicator species will survive under rapid changing conditions of seawater carbonate chemistry throughout the Southern Ocean. This should provide a clearer image of changes in seawater carbonate chemistry and its effects on zooplankton communities, enhancing the effectiveness of decision-making to cope with the consequences of ocean acidification in the Southern Ocean. 

More about the Project & Nia

Supervisors and their affiliation:

Dr. Christine Weldrick (AAPP), Associate Professor Kerrie Swadling (IMAS-UTAS)

Biography

Since I was in high school, I have been interested in marine sciences and life in the oceans. I have spent the last six years studying marine biology and developed a particular interest in calcifying zooplankton and ocean acidification. In 2021, I graduated from University of Tasmania with a Master of Marine and Antarctic Science majoring in marine biology and was placed on the University of Tasmania Roll of Excellence by achieving outstanding academic results. During my Masters, I had the incredible opportunity to conduct a ten-month research project about the effects of a shallow aragonite saturation horizon on Southern Ocean pteropods. This is the beginning of my main research interest, chemical responses of shelled pteropods.

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Chris Traill
PhD Student

E: christopher.traill@utas.edu.au

Date Commenced: 02.08.2021

Coupling biogeochemical cycling of iron and carbon in the Indian sector of the Southern Ocean

Project 5: Biogeochemistry

This PhD project fits into AAPP Theme 2, project 5: biogeochemistry.

By investigating the coupling between iron supply and distribution with carbon drawdown and distribution, we aim to quantitatively identify the magnitude at which iron acts as a control point in Southern Ocean productivity across spatial and temporal scales. Elucidation of the interactions between nutrient supply and carbon distributions may help to explain the variability in Southern Ocean CO2 uptake. These aims will provide a basis with which to examine future changes to Southern Ocean biogeochemistry with climate change.

More about the Project & Chris

Supervisors and their affiliation:

Andrew Bowie1,3; Elizabeth Shadwick2,3; Tyler Rohr3

1 Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia

2 CSIRO, Hobart, Australia

3 Australian Antarctic Program Partnership, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia

Biography

Hailing from a background in medical research, organic chemical synthesis, and analytical chemistry (University of Melbourne, Bio21 Institute, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute), my research interests have shifted from addressing the health of human populations to the health of the earth’s climate systems after employment in both research and private industries. Formally trained as a chemist, my masters completed at IMAS in 2021 continued to use chemical tools to focus on marine trace metal chemistry and biogeochemistry. Here, lithogenic particles were used to estimate dust deposition to the subantarctic Southern Ocean and investigate links between atmospheric nutrient supply and productivity. My research interests involve the use of chemical tools to elucidate the biogeochemical processes involved in Southern Ocean nutrient supply, nutrient limitation (particularly iron), carbon cycling, carbon storage, and the effect of these processes in climatic feedback loops.

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Yu (Eddie) Wang
PhD Student

E: yu.wang0@utas.edu.au

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Date Commenced: 15.08.2022

 

Understanding the ice-ocean interaction in Wilkes Land, Antarctica

Project 3: Ice Shelves / Project 4: Oceanography

This project closely aligns with the AAPP Project 3 (Ice Shelves) and Project 4 (Oceanography).

The Wilkes Subglacial Basin holds the largest ice volume in East Antarctica that is fully connected by subglacial troughs. With a deep landward-dipping subglacial topography, the Wilkes Basin is prone to a marine ice sheet instability that removal of a specific coastal ice volume at the margin of the Wilkes Basin will trigger a self-sustained discharge of the entire basin. This project will focus on modelling the ice-ocean interaction of the Wilkes Basin system with a coupled ice sheet-ocean model in an attempt to better understand the correlation between potential ocean thermal forcing and observed ice loss and retreat and find the evidence for ocean-induced melt being a driver for the ongoing mass loss. The modelling work will commence with the setup of a separate ice sheet model using Elmer/Ice and a separate ocean model using ROMS, Regional Ocean Modelling System. Those two models will then be coupled using FISOC, a framework for ice sheet ocean coupling.

More about the Project & Yu

Supervisors and their affiliation:

Chen Zhao (AAPP/IMAS); Ben Galton-Fenzi (AAD/IMAS); Elisa Mantelli (IMAS)

Biography

I am interested in the ice-ocean system and would like to study ice dynamics and its impact on global sea level rise with a coupled ice sheet-ocean model.

In 2021, I completed my BSc at the Ocean University of China, and also a BSc hons at IMAS. My Honours project was to study the thermal structure of the Amery Ice Shelf, East Antarctica, through borehole observations and numerical simulations. After that, I had a six-month visiting study on ice sheet modelling in Moore Lab of Beijing Normal University.

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James Wyatt
PhD Student

E: james.wyatt@utas.edu.au

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Date Commenced: 01.01.2021

Developing palaeoclimate records to interrogate Indian Ocean continent climate coherencies from East Antarctic ice core records

Project 4: Oceanography

This PhD project aims to create a comprehensive climatology of physical water properties in the Southern Ocean, to explain variability in meridional and zonal fluxes of heat and freshwater across the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) fronts. The ACC is incredibly dynamic, with fronts fluctuating in response to seafloor instabilities, creating eddies and meandering through the circumpolar path. Constructing an average to combine all these occurrences results in a climatology that does not resolve the rich frontal structure of the region. To overcome this, we will create a Gravest Empirical Mode (GEM) climatology, projecting hydrographic data onto a baroclinic stream function coordinate, allowing access to knowledge of the subsurface thermohaline structure of the ACC. This GEM field will be enhanced to include satellite mean sea level anomalies, creating a time varying field from 1992-2022 allowing for trends to be discerned. Additionally, this GEM field will include ageostrophic forcing components to allow analysis of fluxes through time, something unobtainable through previous GEM fields. The resulting climatology will be utilised to analyse heat and freshwater fluxes, eddy mixing, and to document the changing trends of the Southern Ocean and its circulation.

This project addresses the Project 4 (Oceanography) key science question ‘How will Southern Ocean feedbacks alter the pace of climate change?’, assessing how and why the Southern Ocean is changing through time.

More about the Project & James

Supervisors and their affiliation:

Nathan Bindoff – IMAS/AAPP, Helen Phillips – IMAS, Annie Foppert – IMAS/AAPP

Biography

Coming from a small, inland town in country Victoria opportunities to get to the ocean were rather limited for me growing up. As is often the case, those things that seem far away or unreachable become a fascination. This was the I wanted to undertake marine science and the motivation for undertaking my Bachelor of Marine and Antarctic Science at UTAS. I completed my Honours project in 2020 at IMAS, focussing on Indian Ocean heat content. Specifically, Argo data was used to analyse changes in heat content in Subantarctic Mode Water and Antarctic Intermediate Water along Australia’s Indian Ocean boundary current pathways from 2004-2019. My research interests are largely based on large scale circulation. I find the transport and storage of heat, freshwater, and nutrients in the ocean fascinating, and believe that understanding these pathways will become increasingly important in a changing climate.

Yang Xiang

Xiang Yang
PhD Student

E: xiang.yang@utas.edu.au

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Date Commenced: 11.01.2022

Drivers of changes in air-sea CO2 exchange and carbon cycling in the Subantarctic and coastal East Antarctica

Project 5: Biogeochemistry

The project will use a combination of field observations from the IMOS Southern Ocean Time Series (SOTS) moorings, the Southern Ocean Large Areal Carbon Export (SOLACE) and Trends in Euphausiids off Mawson, Predators and Oceanography (TEMPO) voyages, and BGC-Argo floats to understand drivers of changes in the ocean carbon system. The project addresses SOOS Science challenges #1 (Constraining variability in the Southern Ocean CO2 sink over different temporal scales and across regions) and #3 (Assessing the extent and impact of ocean acidification across the Southern Ocean) from theme 3 (Understanding and quantifying the state and variability of the Southern Ocean carbon and biogeochemical cycles) identified by the international research community in the new SOOS Science and Implementation Plan. The aims and proposed thesis chapters are as follows:

1.     Assessment of the response of Subantarctic CO2 system seasonality and annual carbon export to the Southern Annular Mode (SAM).

2.     Multi-platform comparison of air-sea CO2 fluxes in Subantarctic and coastal Antarctic regions.

3.     Investigation of cross-shelf exchange on carbon system dynamics in the East Antarctic sector. 

More about the Project & Xiang

Supervisors and their affiliation:

Pete Strutton (IMAS, CLEX), Cathryn Wynn-Edwards (IMAS, AAPP), Elizabeth Shadwick (CSIRO, AAPP)

AAPP Objective:

This PhD project will directly contribute to the milestones of the Australian Antarctic Program Partnership (AAPP) under Themes 2 (The Nature and Impacts of Southern Ocean Change), specifically, to the Biogeochemistry Project 5 by advancing our understanding of carbon uptake in the Southern Ocean which is a first step in addressing how the region will respond to the changing climate. This project will also contribute to AAPP Theme 3 (The Future of Antarctic Sea Ice, Krill & Ecosystems), to the international Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS) and IMAS Research priority #9 – Ocean and Antarctic Physics and Chemistry.

Biography

I spent my undergraduate degree in the Ocean University of China and the University of Tasmania, and finished my Honours project in IMAS/UTAS, which is about “Physical drivers of biogeochemical variability in the Polar Front meander”. During the meantime, I have won the ARC CELX Honours scholarship and been awarded as Executive Dean’s Honour Roll in the College of Sciences and Engineering, UTAS. I have get interested in the biogeochemical cycle, their drivers/ limitations and also being attracted by how the plankton affect the biosphere, especially the carbon cycle between sea-air. This will also be the main research content of my PhD.

Zhang Xihan

Xihan Zhang
PhD Student

E: xihan.zhang@utas.edu.au

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Date Commenced: 11.05.2020

The role of small-scale ocean dynamics for equilibration of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current and its sensitivity to wind

Project 4: Oceanography

The Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) is a strong current flowing eastward around the Antarctic continent and connecting major ocean basins, intimately related to global climate. The ACC dynamics and how it equilibrates in response to the wind variation remain unclear and is an area of active research. Previous studies suggested the ACC remains insensitive although the surface wind is recorded to increase over the past decades. This project aims to explore further the ACC equilibration mechanisms and its sensitivity to the surface wind from a range of perspectives including momentum, vorticity and energy budgets, which will help us understand better the ACC’s response to the changing climate. This study focuses on standing meanders, which are storm tracks in the ocean and are regions of enhanced eddy activity, strong meridional heat fluxes and vertical momentum transfers. Therefore, this work is relevant to the oceanography project in ‘Nature and Impacts of Southern Ocean Change’ program.

More about the Project & Xihan

Supervisors and their affiliation:

Maxim Nikurashin (AAPP, UTAS); Beatriz Pena-Moino (AAPP,CSIRO); Stephen Rintoul (AAPP,CSIRO); Edward Doddridge (AAPP,UTAS)

Biography

Xihan Zhang is a UTAS phD student supported by the Quantitative Marine Science program. She is particularly interested in the dynamics of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current and its response to the changing climate. She completed Msc in Earth Science at Australian National University, after finishing Bsc in physical oceanography in a joint program between Ocean University of China and University of Tasmania.