Locked within the geographical palimpsest of World Heritage listed Fraser Island is evidence of palaeoclimate change that has the potential to inform the debate on modern climate change and archaeological enquiry. Its location in the sub tropical region off the eastern coast of Australia is expected to render its environmental record sensitive to El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) activity (cf. Donders et al. 2006). With ENSO and the tropical Pacific Ocean believed to play important roles in the dynamics of global climate (Kershaw et al. 2003; Turney et al. 2004), Fraser Island’s environmental record has much to contribute to a developing picture of local, regional, and global palaeoclimates (cf. Donders et al. 2006; Genever et al. 2003; Moss and Kershaw 2000; Turney et al. 2006).

Whilst marine records such as ODP820 in the Great Barrier Reef have made important contributions, such pictures may be distorted because of the selective nature of marine pollen transport (Moss et al. 2005; see also Kershaw et al. 2003). The data gleaned from peat and lake cores derived from Fraser Island’s unique patterned fens and lakes are therefore of particular importance, also potentially shedding light on the curious existence of tropical rainforest here during the last Glacial Maximum (Moss pers.comm. 2012). My project will utilise these cores to examine Fraser Island’s palaeoclimatic record and its sensitivity to ENSO through a number of multiproxy analyses, examining causal mechanisms and linking it to other Australian regional records, particularly in Queensland.

Funding: APA (Australian Postgraduate Award)
Advisors: Assoc Prof Patrick MossProf Fred Menk (UON), Dr Lynda Petherick

Project members

Alison Kelsey


PhD candidate