Study level

  • PhD
  • Master of Philosophy
  • Honours
  • Vacation research experience scheme


Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr Matthew Adams
Research Fellow (DECRA)
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Science

External supervisors

  • Dr Graeme Clark, UNSW


Slight variations in the seasonal timing of Antarctic ice melt can drastically shift the composition of local shallow-water ecosystems from being dominated by invertebrates to algae instead. Such "tipping point" events may become commonplace in the future due to climate change, not just in Antarctica but in many ecosystems worldwide.
This project seeks to develop mathematical models of the interactions between Antarctic environmental conditions and the local shallow-water ecosystem states. These models could then be used to make predictions about the future state of Antarctic ecosystems.

Research activities

  • Develop mathematical models of Antarctic ecosystems (e.g. ordinary differential equation models in MATLAB)
  • compare/verify models against data collected in Antarctica
  • make predictions about the future state of Antarctic ecosystems.


  • Generate new insights into how ecosystems possessing "tipping points" function, both now and in the future
  • development of expertise in multidisciplinary research, cutting across mathematics, ecology and physics
  • write a report detailing your findings for a scientific audience.
In this project there would also be an opportunity to collaborate with and/or present results to Antarctic ecology researchers and other environmental scientists from external institutions.

Skills and experience

Excellent skills in coding and analysis of ordinary differential equation models, and an interest in using mathematics to address applied ecology problems.


You may be eligible to apply for a research scholarship.

Explore our research scholarships



Contact the supervisor for more information.