PhD Scholarship in sediment biogeochemistry (DL 31 May 2018)

A PhD position is available to work with A/Prof Perran Cook, Dr. Chris Greening (Monash University) and Dr. Damien Callahan (Deakin University). We are looking to recruit motivated, talented students with an interest in biogeochemistry and microbial ecology. This project is part of a larger well-resourced project on metabolism in permeable sediments with a strong interdisciplinary and publication focus.

Project details: Coastal sediments act as a critical site for the mineralisation of organic matter and recycling of nutrients. The ‘redox cascade’ provides a classical framework though which biogeochemists view the oxidation of organic matter. Electron acceptors are used sequentially from highest energy yield (oxygen) to lowest (sulphate reduction or methanogenesis). This framework works well in mud sediments where the redox regime remains relatively stable over timescales of weeks to months. In highly dynamic environments such as sand sediments, where redox regimes change on timescales of minutes to hours, we have recently found the redox cascade does not describe metabolic pathways well (Bourke et al 2017, Nat Geosci, 10, 30-35). This PhD project will explore the metabolic pathways involved in the anoxic degradation of carbon (fermentation) in permeable sediments including the organisms responsible (photoautotrophs vs heterotrophs).

Scholarship details: The scholarship is available for domestic and international students interested in doing a PhD. The 3.5 year award includes all course fees and a $27 353 (+5000 ‘top up’) AUD per year tax-free stipend. Additional expenses for relocation, coursework, and conference attendance will also be covered.

Monash and the Schools of Chemistry and Biological Sciences:
Monash is a member of the Group of Eight, a coalition of top Australian universities recognized for their excellence in teaching and research. The project will be based within the Water Studies Centre located The School of Chemistry which is one of the top ranked chemistry schools in Australia. In addition, the student will have access to The School of Biological Sciences is a dynamic unit with strengths in ecology, genetics, and physiology and the nexus between these disciplines. Additional expertise in Lipidomics will be provided by through access to Deakin University, School of Life Sciences. The Universities are located in Melbourne, one of the most liveable cities in the world and a cultural and recreational hub.

Application process: Interested candidates should send their CV, academic transcript, and a brief outline of research interests and motivation to perran.cook@monash.edu. Applicants must possess a Bachelor’s or equivalent degree with first-class Honours, MSc or MPhil degree in a relevant subject (e.g., microbiology, chemistry). Review of applications will begin immediately and short-listed candidates will be asked for more information and invited to interview.

Via Luiz de Camões