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Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholars Programme


  Madison East


  Earth Sciences, Darwin College

  PhD thesis: Bio-Calcification in Past and Future Oceans: Culturing and Modelling Experiments

  Research interests
  1. Earth – Ocean – Atmosphere Systems
  2. Paleoclimate and environmental change
  3. Coral Calcification


Coral reefs are hotspots of life in the oceans. They are a vital to the health of the entire marine ecosystem, play a role in climate feedbacks, and can provide us with an invaluable archive of past climate change through the isotopes and elements they incorporate into their skeletons from the seawater. The aim of my PhD will be to cultivate corals under a range of varying carbon and cation concentrations, and use these results along with existing data to develop a model of coral biomineralisation that reconciles environmental conditions, skeletal geochemisty and calcification rates. The more robust our understanding of coral calcification, the better we will be able to constrain records of past climate, and predict what the future may hold for these thriving centers of life in our oceans.

Who or what inspired you to pursue your research interests?

My ultimate inspiration to pursue research is a love of the natural world and a desire to learn as much as I can about it. I have always found that the world outside was an endless source of both entertainment and beauty. I feel lucky to have had these interests fostered by incredible supervisors and research teams at The University of Sydney during my undergraduate and honours degrees, where I was first given the opportunity to be involved in real world research.