PhD project at the University of Auckland and NIWA, New Zealand: Broadband Acoustic Characterization of Free Gases in Ocean Water

We are seeking an enthusiastic PhD student with a background in geophysics, ocean acoustics, or similar physical methods, for a project at the University of Auckland and NIWA Wellington.

Gas-bubble streams in the water column have been observed on echosounder and multibeam data for many years. Characterization of the bubble streams both in terms of fluxes and chemical composition however, can so far only be achieved with direct sampling. The development of broadband, multi-frequency water column imaging now holds significant promise for constraining the chemistry of bubble-forming gases and for improving flux estimates with far-reaching consequences for studying carbon fluxes from the seafloor into the ocean and atmosphere.

The PhD project is part of a grant awarded to the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) by the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment. This research programme aims at developing the methodology for acoustic characterization of gas in water based on a recent pilot survey, in a collaboration between scientists at NIWA, the University of Auckland, Callaghan Innovation, the University of Tasmania, and the University of New Hampshire.

As part of this programme, the PhD student will focus on classification of gas-bubble streams, their linkages to seafloor and sub-seafloor features, and interpretation of the origin of these gases. The project will include an analysis of existing data from the pilot survey in the Bay of Plenty, where CO2 and methane gas streams have been identified and ground-truthed. In this region, interpretation of the bubble streams will focus on their link to hydrothermal activity. Data from a number of existing and planned surveys of cold seeps along New Zealand's East Coast will also be available, where bubble streams may be related to biogenic gas and abundant gas hydrates. More information can be found at Auckland's Marine Geosciences Blog.

Applicants with a strong background in quantitative acoustic or seismic data analysis, ideally including some geoscience training, are encouraged to apply. The student will be co-advised by Dr. Ingo Pecher (U. Auckland), Dr. Yoann Ladroit (NIWA), A/Prof G. Lamarche (U. Auckland) and will collaborate with scientists at NIWA, the University of New Hampshire, and the University of Tasmania. The student will be part of the Joint Graduate School in Coastal and Marine Science at the University of Auckland and NIWA and will be located in Auckland or Wellington. For further information, please contact Ingo Pecher (

The project is supported over three years. Funding includes a stipend of NZ$27,500 per year and tuition fees. Applicants should send their CV, transcripts, and the names of two referees to Ingo Pecher. Screening of applications will start immediately and continue until filled.

posted: 28 January 2020     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.