Graduate Research School For Candidates Prospective Candidates Available Projects Biogeochemical modelling of tropical marine ecosystems in the context of climate change

Biogeochemical modelling of tropical marine ecosystems in the context of climate change

Title of Project

Biogeochemical modelling of tropical marine ecosystems in the context of climate change

Advisor/s

Barbara Robson

College or Research Centre

AIMS@JCU

Summary of Project

Modelling of marine ecological responses to climate change is often done poorly, using models that were designed for current conditions and evaluated against historical observations. Robust modelling of climate change futures requires not only setting appropriate boundary conditions (such as meteorological and hydrological conditions and ocean currents) but also re-evaluation of the algorithms and assumptions built into the model itself. For example, most models (including the eReefs models for the Great Barrier Reef) assume that process rates including plankton growth rates increase as temperature increases. This is generally true for temperatures <30C, but the assumption fails as temperatures continue to rise. Most models also fail to account for adaptation of planktonic communities in response to long-term changes in environmental conditions and do not consider how acute responses to short-term changes in temperature or pH differ from longer-term physiological responses to chronic exposure. In this project, the student would critically evaluate the eReefs biogeochemical models and improve

Key Words

great barrier reef; hydrodynamic modelling; ecosystem modelling; oceanography; climate change; water quality; environment

Would suit an applicant who

The successful applicant should have an interest in marine science, a strong quantitative background and some prior programming experience (e.g. in compiled language such as C++ or Fortran as well as an interpreted language such as R, Python or Matlab) as well as relevant research experience such as a 1st class or 2a Honours degree. Students with a Bachelor’s degree in any sufficiently quantitative field may be considered – for example, Oceanography, Applied Mathematics, Computer Science, Meteorology or Engineering. Students with a degree in Marine Science, Environmental Science or Ecology could be considered if they have completed appropriate university-level coursework in mathematics. Some prior knowledge of ecology and environmental chemistry would be an advantage, but not required.

Updated: 2 months ago