There are major gaps in the palaeoenvironmental records for the sub-tropical region of South East Queensland. Recent years have seen a concerted effort to close these gaps with concentrated studies on North Stradbroke Island and Fraser Island using a wide variety of proxies including pollen, Chironomidae, diatoms, geochemical analysis, aeolian sedimentation, clastic sediment flux, grain size analysis, charcoal and moisture content. Despite these efforts there are still issues with regard to continuity of the record from individual sites as many display long hiatuses in sedimentation; the ability to obtain high resolution records from multiple proxies and ultimately the timing of climatic events pertaining to individual records. Another important issue is that there are no sites in the literature that are located further than 100km from the coast for the whole of Queensland.

This project aims to build on the growing body of literature by capturing one complete glacial cycle from the late Pleistocene/Holocene records of two sites with very different evolutionary settings. The first site is Fraser Island, where the sediments of dune bound swamp(s) will be examined using pollen and charcoal as the primary proxies. The second is the volcanic crater lakes of Coulstoun Lakes National Park. This inland site will provide a first insight into climate and environmental history of a more typical SE Queensland region. It will be based on pollen (if present in the clays), charcoal and phytoliths supported by geochemical analyses.
If the records extend through one glacial cycle, as hoped, these records may provide insight into human settlement in SEQ, the timing of megafauna disappearances from these sites and a broader climate record than is currently available.

Funding: UQRS (University of Queensland Research Scholarship), AINSE (Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering) top-up
Advisors: Prof Jamie ShulmeisterAssoc Prof Patrick MossDr Kevin Welsh

Project members

Mike Evans


PhD candidate