PhD opportunity speleothem research group


Speleothem climate reconstruction for Northern Australia over the past 100,000 years

The climate history of northern Australia over the past 100 ka is relatively poorly known and yet this is a critical period when the peopling of Australia first took place. Cave deposits (speleothems) offer the prospect of reconstructing detailed climatic histories for this period, combining robust radiometric determinations with proxy records of temperature and precipitation, and the potential for vegetation and landscape reconstruction from entrapped pollen assemblages.

This PhD project will build on our existing work in northern Australia covering the past 20 ka to produce detailed records extending throughout the period of human occupation, documenting climatic factors that may have influenced both migration patterns and rock art styles. The PhD candidate will benefit from the ongoing collaboration between Prof. Jon Woodhead’s Laureate program (University of Melbourne) aimed at past climate reconstruction using speleothems, and two ARC Linkage Projects one led by Prof Hamish McGowan (University of Queensland), targeting the palaeoclimate of the Kimberley region in NW Australia, and another led by Prof Andy Gleadow (University of Melbourne), aimed at producing a chronology of the Kimberley rock art styles. This is a fully-funded PhD program with a standard living allowance of $30,600 per annum plus fee remission waiver. Additional relocation allowances may be applicable.

For more info contact Jon Woodhead ( or Kale Sniderman (