Two PhD Scholarships in coral reef biogeochemistry, Southern Cross University, Australia

I. Enhanced acidification of coral reefs driven by inputs of nutrients and organic matter

We have recently shown that the average pCO2 of coral reefs throughout the globe has increased ~3.5-fold faster than in the open ocean over the past 20 years (Geophysical Research Letters 41, 5538-5546). This rapid increase in pCO2 has the potential to enhance the acidification and predicted effects of ocean acidification on coral reef ecosystems. Based on some simple modelling our hypothesis was that elevated pCO2 was driven by increased inputs of nutrient and organic matter to coral reefs. This fully funded project will test this hypothesis using field measurements and experimental work.

II. Dissolution of shallow coral reef sediments in an acidifying ocean

Changes in carbonate dissolution due to ocean acidification are potentially more important than changes in calcification to the future accretion and survival of coral reef ecosystems. Most carbonate in coral reefs is stored in old permeable sediments. Because these sediments are critical to the formation of the modern, shallow reef environments such as lagoons, reef flats and coral sand cays, increasing sediment dissolution due to ocean acidification will result in reef loss even if calcification remains unchanged. Despite the importance of coral reef sediment dissolution there has been much less interest in dissolution than calcification (see our review Eyre et al., 2014. Nature Climate Change 4, 969-976). This fully funded project will undertake field and experimental work to better understand the drivers of shallow carbonate sediment dissolution in an acidifying ocean.


Applicants will need to have a 1st Class Honours or Master degree in a related field such as biogeochemistry, environmental chemistry, or closely related. Previous experience with electronic field equipment and handling continuous high-density data sets from automated instrumentation and scientific diving and boating qualifications will be viewed favourably. The project will involve extended periods in the field, sometimes in remote areas. The PhD scholarship will provide a tax free stipend of $25,800 and tuition fees will be exempt. Interested applicants should send their CV, and a short letter highlighting their research background and interest in this area, highlighting if one or both of the projects are of interest, to Prof. Bradley Eyre – (bradley.eyre(at) Only short-listed applicants will be notified. Closing date February 8, 2015 although may extend longer if both positions are not filled. Starting date by June 29, 2015.

The projects will be undertaken in the Centre for Coastal Biogeochemistry ( at Southern Cross University which received the highest rank of 5.0, well above world average, in geochemistry in the most recent assessment of research excellence by the Australian government.

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