Geoscience Staff

Across our research and teaching, we have a wide range of expertise. Our researchers, your lecturers, are listed here with various networking and contact options available.

A/Prof Eric Roberts

Head, Geoscience

Eric Roberts is a clastic sedimentologist with research expertise in facies mapping and identification, sedimentary provenance, core logging, stratigraphy, U-Pb zircon geochronology, petroleum geology palaeontology and regional correlation.

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Academic Staff

Professor Michael Bird

Isotope Geochemist

I am an isotope geochemist and Quaternary scientist who worked in Canada, Singapore and Scotland prior to joining JCU in 2009 as an ARC Federation Fellow. My research interests include the terrestrial carbon cycle, biochar, geoarchaeology and understanding the trajectory and drivers  of past and future environmental change in the tropics.

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Associate Professor Zhaoshan Chang

Economic Geologist

Zhaoshan Chang is an economic geologist with expertise on skarns, epithermal, porphyry and sediment-hosted Au deposits. He is EGRU Director and works closely with the minerals industry on exploration-orientated research projects.

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Dr James Daniell

Marine Geologist

My expertise includes oceanography, geomorphology, sedimentology, geophysics, remote sensing and GIS. However, my research is more specifically focused on mapping the seabed using sonar to understand geological processes, oceanography, and the distribution of benthic habitats in both deep and shallow water environments.

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Professor Paul Dirks

Paul Dirks is a structural geologist with an interest in geodynamics and the tectonic history of cratonic terrains and adjacent mobile belts, investigating their tectonic evolution and associated mineralization patterns. His research is strongly field-based with a focus on detailed geological mapping.

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Dr Rob Holm

Lecturer in Petrology and Mineralogy

Rob Holm employs multi-disciplinary methods comprising elements of structural geology, igneous petrology, geochronology, geophysics and sedimentology to unravel complex tectonic terranes. Through the generation of tectonic reconstruction models, he investigates the links between tectonics and mineral deposit formation.

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Dr Jan Marten Huizenga

I am interested in fluid-rock interaction processes in the lower crust and in hydrothermal (mineralised) systems, and in thermodynamic modelling of carbon-oxygen-hydrogen systems. In addition, I am also interested in developing new teaching techniques for improving student learning in introductory geology classes

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Dr Karen Joyce

Remote Sensing Scientist

Karen Joyce's primary area of interest is in creating, applying and automating remote sensing tools for environmental monitoring and management problems. While the environmental target may vary from marine and coastal through to savanna ecosystems, my common approach is to optimise models for rapid quantitative information extraction and communication purposes.

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Dr Christa Placzek


My research focuses on the interaction between climate, hydrology, and Earth surface geochemistry.  I utilize a breadth of isotopic techniques, fieldwork, and both numerical and climate models to understand interactions between global climate and to quantify the rates and processes of rock weathering and erosion.

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Dr Ioan Sanislav

My research interest is in structural geology and tectonics with a focus on field geology, structural controls on mineralized systems and the tectonic evolution of Proterozoic and Archean terranes. Current areas of interest are: the Archean Tanzania Craton, the Proterozoic Mt Isa region, and the Palaeozoic metamorphics of northern Queensland.

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A/Prof Carl Spandler

Associate Professor

Carl Spandler uses petrology and geochemistry to research aspects of the evolution of the Earth’s crust and mantle, and the formation of metalliferous ore deposits. His areas of expertise include microanalysis of minerals for trace elements and isotopes, hydrothermal fluid geochemistry and magmatic ore deposits.

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Peter Whitehead

Peter Whitehead studies Cenozoic volcanology of Eastern Australia, in particular in relation to volcanic landforms and landscape evolution.

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Research Staff

Dr Joao Babo

Joao Babo completed his PhD on on the Merlin high grade Mo-Re deposits in the Cloncurry region of North Queensland, Australia. He is currently researching the hominid Sediba fossils of South Africa with particular emphasis on the sediment and bone fragment geochemistry.

Dr Robin Beaman

Rob Beaman is a Marine Geologist who uses ocean mapping science required to unlock the secrets of Australia's underwater landscape. Ocean mapping science can help reveal the geological origin of the seafloor and explain the distribution of important seabed habitats and marine life.

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Dr Isaac Corral Calleja

Isaac Corral Calleja studies porphyry-and epithermal Au-Cu mineralization in convergent margin settings. He has worked  extensively in SW Panama and is currently researching the geology and metallogeny of the Northern Bowen Basin.

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Dr Yanbo Cheng

Yanbo Cheng is an economic Geologist with expertise in tin and tungsten mineralisation, petrogenesis of granitic rocks, fertility of ore-related igneous rocks and genesis of the “Critical Metal” ores.

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Dr Maree Corkeron


Maree is a sedimentologist whose main research interest is in deciphering basin systems and depositional environments to understand the interplay between extreme ancient climates, sedimentary depositional systems and microbial contribution to ancient environments, particularly in the Neoproterozoic.  Her areas of expertise include carbonate and siliciclastic sedimentology, carbonate geochemistry, unconventional gas, coal and environmental geology.

Dr Arianne Ford

Arianne Ford focuses on the application of spatial statistics and computational techniques to mineral exploration targeting and resource classification.

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Adjunct Emeritus Professor Bob Henderson

Bob Henderson has over 40 years of experience working on Australian geology, with a particular focus on the regional geology of Queensland. His research interests span from tectonics, sedimentology and basin studies to invertebrate palaeontology.

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Dr Hannah Hilbert-Wolf

Hannah Hilbert-Wolf is a sedimentary geologist whose research focuses on reconstructing the tectonic and sedimentary history of the Rukwa Rift Basin, of the East African Rift System in Tanzania. She is currently working on the geological context of important new hominid finds in the Cradle of Humankind, South Africa.

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Dr Susannah Leahy

Susannah Leahy is a postdoctoral research fellow currently working to increase our understanding of a range of coral reef biophysical parameters via remote sensing, in particular using drone-mounted sensors. She is most interested in finding ways to use remote sensing approaches to enrich ecological research questions, and to increase the efficiency of environmental data collection.

Dr Niels Munksgaard

Niels develops and applies new portable instruments for field-based analysis of stable isotopes (H, C, O) in water, soil and other environmental samples. This work includes building some world-first gadgets that help provide new insights into weighty questions about global water and carbon cycling.

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Dr Cassandra Rowe

Cassandra is a palaeoecologist and palynologist whose research focusses on long-term environmental dynamics and human-environmental relationships within monsoonal regions, understanding vegetation composition, distribution and change with emphasis on tropical-savanna landscapes, dry-rainforest associations and island flora

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Dr Mike Rubenach (Adjunct)

Mike is an igneous and metamorphic petrologist with expertise in field mapping, petrography, metamorphism of the Mount Isa Inlier, and the petrology of skarns.

Dr Chris Wurster

Chris Wurster is an environmental geochemist who specialises in stable isotope geochemistry of a wide array of materials including water, carbonate, phosphate, and organic matter, from both terrestrial (from the humid tropics to drylands) and aquatic (both freshwater and oceanic) systems.

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Administrative Support Staff

Judy Botting

EGRU Adminstration and Honours Support

Alaina Jones

Academic Services Officer

Kaylene Camuti

EGRU Marketing and Communications