Two experts land Early Career Researcher Grants

21 Mar 2016
Dr Charles Verdel and Dr Harald Hofmann
Dr Charles Verdel, left, and Dr Harald Hofmann.

Studies of marine sediments and perched aquifers are among topics to be studied by School of Earth Sciences researchers awarded funding in the latest round of the UQ Early Career Researcher Grants Scheme.

The competitive grants, valued at up to $40,000 each, are awarded to top teaching and research staff in the Faculty of Science who are within the first eight years of their academic careers. 

For some researchers, this is one of the first significant competitive grant successes in which they have been the lead chief investigators, so is an early career milestone.

Nine grants in total were made to Faculty of Science researchers.

Successful School of Earth Sciences applicants are:

Dr Charles Verdel (value of grant: $35,400)

Dr Verdel's study focuses on a newly discovered exposure of 650 million-year-old marine sediments in central Australia that were deposited between periods of global glaciation.

“These rocks record extreme changes in ocean chemistry and sea level, and they were deposited immediately prior to the first appearance of multi-celled organisms,” Dr Verdel said.

“This project will investigate whether changes to the earth’s rotational axis may have been responsible for the wide fluctuations in sea level and marine geochemistry.”

Dr Harald Hofmann (value of grant: $35,350)

Dr Hofmann will research perched aquifers, which are localised groundwater systems in the unsaturated zone of larger regional aquifer systems.

They are paramount for many groundwater dependent ecosystems.

“Understanding the dynamic and connectivity of these aquifer systems on islands is important for water management in terms of groundwater extractions and environmental protection,” he said.