The five-year project will produce the first long-term (100,000 year) terrestrial records of environmental change before, during and after the arrival of humans in Australian savannas. These records will be extracted from sediments accumulated in newly identified sinkholes in the northern Territory. The sediment cores will be used to develop palynological and isotope geochemical records of changes in water balance, vegetation type and fire activity. This will enable natural and human drivers of change in northern Australia’s climate and biodiversity to be disentangled on two timescales (i) millennial – before, during and after Aboriginal arrival in northern Australia and (ii) centennial – before, during and after European arrival in northern Australia.
The two PhD scholarships each include a stipend for four years currently valued at AUD$25,406 p.a. with costs associated with travel, fieldwork and laboratory analysis covered by the project. The anticipated start date is
March 2015. Applicants with a Masters Degree or 1st class honours degree and an appropriate background in Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Physical Geography, Archaeology or Ecology should contact Professor Michael Bird (firstname.lastname@example.org) for further information.