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Climate of the last millennium

A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.


Academic background
Host campus
Honours, Master’s
Associate Professor Chris Moy, Dr Marcus Vandergoes (GNS Science)


High resolution paleoclimate records spanning the last 1,000 years are critical for establishing hydroclimate baselines, determining the magnitude of past temperature change and evaluating potential climate drivers. Yet, there are very few highly resolved and well dated records from New Zealand that can provide this perspective.

A primary goal of the Lakes380 project ( is to evaluate how climate and landscape change impact water quality in 10% of New Zealand’s lakes (n=380) since first human arrival approximately 700 years ago.

This MSc project will compile multiple records of climate change from the southern South Island to help establish a baseline of climate and environmental change.

We are seeking an enthusiastic MSc student to join our international research team to participate in the collection and analysis of sediment cores obtained from multiple NZ lakes. You will take advantage of the new Otago analytical core repository (ORCA) that houses a new µ-XRF core scanner capable of generating multi-element profiles at 0.1 mm resolution. In addition you will integrate XRF data with other downcore geochemical and physical sediment parameters in order to create a comprehensive multi-site record of climate and environmental change.

For NZ applicants with a BSc, a competitive Lakes380 scholarship that supports stipend and fees is available for the 2nd (research) year. For New Zealand BSc Honours applicants, this scholarship can be applied to the 1-year MSc (thesis only) degree.


Chris Moy