3 PhD projects in Marine Geosciences at
the University of Auckland

  1. Ecology of Gas Hydrate Environments
  2. Gas Hydrate Modelling
  3. Seismic Data from the Hikurangi Subduction Margin

We are seeking three enthusiastic PhD students for projects in the Marine Geosciences at the University of Auckland, in collaboration with scientists at NIWA and GNS Science.

1. The ecology of hydrocarbon seeps and effects of gas hydrate dissociation on the structure and stability of seafloor organism communities:
Seafloor hydrocarbon seeps contain unique chemosynthesis-based communities of organisms, including those seeps offshore eastern North Island, New Zealand. Gas hydrate deposits occur in the vicinity of some seeps, and maybe extracted as an energy resource in the future. While some ecological studies have been undertaken, little is known about the effects of gas hydrate dissociation - natural or human induced - on seafloor communities in the region. We are seeking a PhD student to conduct ecological and geochemical studies to investigate the nature and distribution of organism communities associated with seeps on the Hikurangi Margin, and how the dissociation f gas hydrates may affect the structure and stability of these communities. The student will develop this project based on archival video and sample collections from previous research voyages, as well as collect data on a planned 2019 voyage to seep and gas hydrate sites in the study area. Applicants with a strong ecological background, ideally including some geoscience training, are encouraged to apply. The student will be co-advised by Professor Kathy Campbell and Dr. Ashley Rowden (NIWA), and will collaborate with scientists at Scripps Oceanographic Institution and Oregon State University in the USA. For further information, please contact Prof. Kathy Campbell (ka.campbell@auckland.ac.nz).

2. Modelling of the effect of gas hydrate dissociation on seafloor stability:
Gas hydrates have long been implicated in submarine-slope and wellbore failure but the mechanisms by which gas hydrates affect seafloor stability are still poorly understood. We are seeking a PhD student to conduct numerical modelling to investigate the mechanisms by which gas hydrates and their dissociation may affect seafloor stability. The student will develop their models based on recently acquired geophysical data, including IODP well logs and cores, from the Hikurangi Margin east of New Zealand. Applicants with a strong numerical background, ideally including geomechanical modelling, are encouraged to apply. The student will be co-advised by Dr. Ingo Pecher and Prof. Rosalind Archer and will collaborate with scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. For further information, please contact Dr. Ingo Pecher (i.pecher@auckland.ac.nz).

3. Quantitative Analysis of Seismic Data from the Hikurangi Margin:
The Hikurangi Margin east of New Zealand's North Island is the target of a number of studies into subduction processes, ranging from seismic surveys to drilling by the International Ocean Discovery Program. As part of these studies, high-quality seismic data have been acquired in recent years, which are being analysed by scientists at several New Zealand and international institutions. We are seeking a PhD student to conduct quantitative seismic analyses on these data. The project is expected to focus on resolving the high-resolution velocity structure of the sub-seafloor using state-of-the-art techniques with the aim of improving our understanding of fluid migration in subduction zones. Applicants will need strong numerical skills and a background in quantitative geophysics. The student will be co-advised by Dr. Ingo Pecher and Dr. Stuart Henrys at GNS Science. For further information, please contact Dr. Ingo Pecher (i.pecher@auckland.ac.nz).

The projects are supported by New Zealand Government grants. Funding includes a stipend of NZ$27,500 per year and tuition fees. Applicants should indicate which project they are applying for and send their CVs, transcripts, as well as the names of two referees to the contacts listed above. Screening of applications will start immediately and continue until filled.

posted: 04 September 2018     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.