Projects

Below we list current research topics in RSES, with links to relevant researchers and research groups. For a list of potential student projects and PhD topics, please refer to the potential project student page

Biogeochemistry

Biomarkers Life in the Precambrian was dominated by bacteria and archaea, organisms that rarely leave diagnostic cellular remains in the fossil record. However, hydrocarbon biomarkers, the molecular fossils of natural products such as lipids and pigments, can yield a wealth of infor­mation about...
Current
The project aims to reconstruct deep water carbonate ion and nutrient contents at millennial timescales using high sedimentation cores from the Atlantic Ocean.
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In lakes and oceans, organic matter from dead organisms is usually recycled back into CO 2 and water. However, a small fraction of this dead biomass, particularly pigments and lipids, escapes the remineralization process and accumulates in the bottom sediment. Over millions of years, the lipids will turn into...
Current
Lake Tyrrell is a large salt lake in outback Australia . We aim to make the lake one of the most completely understood hypersaline ecosystems in the world. To achieve this, we are combining environmental genomics where the genome of all predominant microorganism in the lake water are sequenced (>1 billion base...
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Today, Earth's oceans are teaming with life, and even deep marine trenches contain enough oxygen to support complex organisms. However, oceans in Earth's distant past were fundamentally different. In the first half of Earth history, ~4.5 to 2.3 billion years (Ga) ago, the world's oceans and atmosphere were almost...
Current

Climate and Fluid Physics

Over the past decade, the Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets have been loosing its mass at an alarming rate.  Antarctic ice-shelves are melting by turbulent transport of heat and salt to the ice face, predominantly under the influence of warmer Circumpolar Deep Water entering ice shelf cavities from the surrounding...
Current
Convection is one of the major modes of heat transfer in fluids and is especially important given the large scales of most geophysical flows. Heat transfer by natural convection plays a significant role in the structure of Earth's atmosphere, oceans and mantle. Flow in a horizontal...
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Turbulent mixing plays an important role in the oceanic circulation energy balance. Energy is input at large scales from tides and surface wind stresses, and provides the energy required to bring deep, dense water back towards the surface via mixing. Mixing can...
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The Southern Ocean encircles Antarctica, dividing the polar regions from the warm tropical ocean. It is home to the world's strongest ocean current, the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, and is the primary location where ancient, deep ocean water is upwelled to the surface.  The Southern Ocean controls the natural...
Current
Convection at an evoporating surface
The ocean-atmosphere interface is a highly complex and extremely important part of the climate system. The dynamics and thermodynamics of the sea surface govern fluxes of heat, momentum and CO2 between the atmosphere...
Current

Earth Dynamics

The program monitors the postglacial rebound which may be occurring near the Lambert Glacier, Prince Charles Mountains, Antarctica since the Last Glacial Maximum. A transect of permanent GPS sites has been established from the coast up to 450 km inland. The aim of the project is to estimate absolute vertical...
Current
The island of Sifnos in the Aegean Sea , Cyclades ( Greece ) is well known for its spectacular and well preserved blueschists and eclogites. The best preserved assemblages occur in structurally high tectonic slices that outcrop in the north of the island.  These slices occur in the upper-plate of a major detachment...
Current
The Aegean Blueschist Belt is one of the most studied extensional zones on Earth. However still there is disagreement as to the complex tectonic history and exhumation of the HP/LT eclogite and blueschist rocks. New and extensive geochronology studies with meso-scale and micro-scale structural analysis of the...
Current
Complex arrays of laterally extensive movement zones occur beneath the Austro-Alpine 'cold lid' of the European Alps. These shear zones operated as extensional movement zones at various times during the tectonic evolution of the Alps, however meso-scale and micro-scale structural analysis show the tectonic history...
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For more information on this project please visit the GRACE website.
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The ability to detect monthly mass changes through space-geodetic missions provides the capability to assess changes in the ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland. Decreases in mass imply that the cryosphere is melting and increasing the volume of the oceans whereas increases in mass imply increased precipitation...
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Microstructural analysis with micro-scale based 40 Ar/ 39 Ar geochronology has been used to differentiate between different deformational events in the extensional zone of the central Agean Sea, Greece. North/south directed extension in the central Aegean has been largely accommodated by the...
Current
Changes in mass balance (or the amount of ice that has melted) can be measured using space-geodetic techniques that detect variations in the Earth's gravity field and changes in ice height. Both satellite altimetry (used to measure ice topography heights) and GRACE (measures changes in potential) are sensitive to...
Current
Understanding present-day melting patterns of polar ice caps and the contribution to present-day sea level variations requires first unravelling the puzzle of how the continents are still adjusting after the melting that has occurred since the Last Glacial Maximum around 10,000 years ago. This is a complicated...
Current
Understanding present-day melting patterns of polar ice caps and the contribution to present-day sea level variations requires first unravelling the puzzle of how the continents are still adjusting after the melting that has occurred since the Last Glacial Maximum around 10,000 years ago. This is a complicated...
Current

Underworld Geodynamics

Underworld Geodynamics Modelling software Current
With the onset of warmer global temperatures, an increase in precipitation is predicted for low-latitude regions of northern Australia, while the southern parts are predicted to become drier. Water is a critical resource, yet little is currently known about the actual amount of groundwater available, let alone how...
Current
Tide gauges are used to measure the rate of change of the ocean surface relative to the land (relative sea level). The vertical movement of the tide gauge itself needs to be considered before such observations can be used to estimate variations in regional or global sea level. Space-geodetic techniques such as the...
Current

Experimental Petrology

New analytical techniques, developed to analyse the platinum group elements (PGEs) at the ultra low levels in which they are found in granitic rocks, allow us to make the first reliable analyses of the PGEs in these rocks. The aim of this fundamental research is to identify the timing of, and understand the causes...
Current
Classical petrological and geochemical tools provide only limited insights into extreme metamorphism because fast diffusion of major elements and annealing effectively eliminate crucial information.We are developing new and innovative tools for high-resolution investigation of partial melting and high-grade...
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