Subantarctic response to rapid climate change: A paleo perspective

Supervision team may include:

Associate Professor Zanna Chase,  Dr Axel Durand and PhD student Harris Anderson

Ocean samplingThis project aims to determine how the Southern Ocean responds to abrupt climate change. Rapid warming events of the last ice age provide an analogue to human caused warming. This project focuses on the Subantarctic sector of the Southern Ocean, south of Tasmania. You will use geochemical measurements in marine sediment cores to reconstruct ocean productivity and dust deposition across the last glacial cycle, focusing in particular on the period during the last ice age called Marine Isotope Stage 3. During this time, the northern hemisphere experienced repeated episodes of rapid warming (up to 10 degrees in 100 years) while southern hemisphere ice cores reveal more gradual warming during peak northern hemisphere cooling. These events were associated with increases in atmospheric CO2. The role of ocean biogeochemical processes, including iron fertilization of Subantarctic waters, is not known. Results from this project will be used to determine the nature, timing and drivers of the biological response to rapid climate change.

This project will involve a significant component of laboratory work in geochemistry (sediment acid digestion, column chemistry and analysis by ICP-MS). You will need to be comfortable working in a lab, and be familiar with basic concepts in analytical chemistry.

Authorised by the Executive Director, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies
October 31, 2019