Join the team


Interested in doing barefooted research?

Do you believe hard work can be fun?

Want to be part of an energetic and productive environment?

We are major contributors to SCU’s highest rank of 5 “well above world average” in the fields of Oceanography and Geochemistry in the latest Australian government Excellence in Research Australia assessment. We co-teach Oceanography, Biogeochemistry and Pollution at SCU’s Environmental Science and Marine Science degrees in Lismore and Coffs Harbour.
We welcome inquiries from prospective Honours, Masters and PhD students and are happy to discuss projects to suit individual interests and needs. Please contact any of our team members to discuss projects that would follow up or are related to any of our publications. 
Our research involves collaboration with industry and government agencies, universities in Australia and overseas, and rely on cutting edge technology. Our students work with passionate supervisors in well-funded projects all over Australia and overseas. 
Scholarships can be negotiated with excellent Honours, Masters, and PhD students. 

Current projects available to Honours and PhD students to start in 2017 or 2018:

1)    Can coastal vegetated systems buffer ocean acidification? This project will involve field experiments with scientists from the barefoot team in collaboration with colleagues from the USA, Belgium and Saudi Arabia. It will involve travel across the world, working in iconic locations such as The Everglades National Park in Florida, the Red Sea, and Shark Bay in Western Australia.                     Contact Damien Maher
2)    Historical reconstruction of banana and blueberry farming pollution. The student will use sediment cores and Pb-210 dating to collaborate with NSW EPA to determine whether heavy metals from agricultural activities accumulate in downstream coastal wetlands. Contact Christian Sanders or Isaac Santos
3)    Is groundwater the missing source of nutrients to the Great Barrier Reef? This project involves using novel groundwater tracing techniques to determine the quantity and impacts of groundwater nutrient flows to the Great Barrier Reef.                                    Contact Douglas Tait
4)    Greenhouse gas production and consumption in seagrasses. This project will use cutting edge instrumentation to determine the rates and production pathways of greenhouse gases (methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide) in seagrasses. The work will be undertaken in collaboration with Deakin University. Contact Damien Maher
5)    Small scale spatial variability in estuarine greenhouse gas fluxes. This project, ideally suited to an honours, will investigate what the small scale in greenhouse gas fluxes are in the water column and intertidal flats of estuaries.                                                       Contact Christian Sanders
6)    Are historic or current landuse practices responsible for eutrophication on the Great Barrier Reef. This project will use novel tritium dating techniques to determine the age of groundwaters flowing to the reef and determine the lag time between nutrient being delivered to groundwater (ie fertilizers) and it being discharged to coastal waters. Contact Douglas Tait
7)    How vulnerability are coastal wetlands to sea-level rise? This project will investigate several sediment dating methods to determine if the sediment accretion rates in coastal vegetated areas are keeping pace with local sea level rise.                                    Contact Christian Sanders
8)    The caravan of courage. This project is dependent upon funding from a submitted ARC grant for a mobile laboratory packed with state-of-the-art instrumentation. The project will involve travelling around Australia, measuring greenhouse gas fluxes, and aquatic carbon cycling dynamics from a range of ecosystems. Contact Damien Maher
9)    Carbon cycling in freshwater wetlands. The student will join a large team of SCU, Deakin University, and Taree City Council researchers to investigate carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas dynamics in the Hastings and Manning River catchments.        Contact Damien Maher, Isaac Santos or Christian Sanders
10)    Do beach buried whales attract sharks to the surf zone? This project will perform beach groundwater field and laboratory experiments in collaboration with the Department of Primary Industries and the National Parks and Wildlife Service in Coffs Harbour. The Honours student will work with other PhD students and colleagues involved with the $16 million NSW Shark Management Plan. Contact Isaac Santos
11)    Managing water quality during the blueberry farming bloom. This project will investigate water quality in Coffs Harbour creeks surrounded by fertilizer-intensive blueberry farms in collaboration with Coffs Harbour City Council.                                             Contact Isaac Santos
12)    Engaging the next generation of scientists: This project will involve developing a program of activities and learning outcomes that will be used to stimulate interest in science for the next generation of scientists. The program will be used by the barefoot team to engage primary and secondary school students in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines, with a focus on real world environmental issues. The aim is to get  a program developed that will be suitable for delivery to local schools with concepts like water, air and soil quality and chemistry making up the foundation.