HDR Scholarship - Coastal sediment dynamics and the role of benthic habitats and geomorphic characteristics on transport processes

A PhD scholarship is available in the Centre for Integrative Ecology, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment. The PhD student will initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Coastal sediment dynamics and the role of benthic habitats and geomorphic characteristics on transport processes' led by Associate Professor Daniel Ierodiaconou. The successful applicant will be based at the Warrnambool Campus.

Research topic

Along the shorelines of South-eastern Australia, there is concern that a lack of sediment supply, rising sea level and climate change will impact sediment circulation patterns, leading to the destabilization of nearshore-beach-dune systems through erosion, overwash, and backshore transgression. We aim to explore the fundamental interconnectedness that drives shoreline change in Victoria, Australia. Despite the acknowledgment of coastal sediment dynamics being critical to sustainable management knowledge of shoreline behaviour and sediment movement is limited. The determination of sediment volume, type, quantity (i.e. extent and thickness) and morphology will be important to better understand the coastal sediment budgets and shoreline evolution. As a result the Victorian Government, though the Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning has formed a partnership with Deakin University and The University of Melbourne to develop the Victorian Coastal Monitoring Program. The aim of this program is to develop predictive models of future shoreline behaviour through understanding sediment dynamics derived from the latest innovative technologies from multibeam and subbottom sonar mapping, citizen-science UAV/Drones and disciplines including remote sensing, marine sedimentology and habitat mapping.

The project will include seagoing and shore based sampling and make use of a variety of data sources to investigate coastal sediment dynamics. The project will develop novel methods to characterise seafloor substrate and habitat based on high-resolution remotely sensed data to better understand sediment sources and sinks to inform coastal evolution.

Project aim

The aim of this project is to develop novel approaches to habitat characterisation in the marine and coastal zone using the latest advances in habitat mapping including unmanned aerial vehicles and multibeam echosounders. This project will generate a better understanding of the role of benthic flora and fauna in stabilising sediment surfaces. The project will determine the utility of novel technologies for the fine scale characterisation of geomorphological complexity and community structure in the littoral and sublittoral zone. The project will fill important knowledge gaps regarding sediment source and sinks in forecasting shoreline change.

Value and duration


  • A stipend of $27,082 per annum tax exempt (2018 rate)
  • A relocation allowance from $500 to $1,500 awarded to students who are moving from interstate or overseas in order to study at Deakin
  • For international students only: Tuition fee and overseas health coverage for the duration of four years.

STIPEND Duration

  • 3 Years

Important dates

Opening date


Closing date


Eligibility criteria

This scholarship is open domestic and international candidates.

Applicants must meet Deakin's PhD entry requirements, be enrolling full time and hold an Honours degree (First Class) or an equivalent standard Master's degree with a substantial research component. Please refer to the entry pathways to higher degrees by research for further information.

Additional desirable criteria include:

  • An Honours or Master’s degree in Ecology, Physical Geography, Geosciences, Environmental Science or Engineering, or similarly relevant degree subjects (e.g. Remote Sensing).
  • Demonstrable quantitative skills, and experience with spatial and statistical analysis. Experience in marine remote sensing data manipulation is also desired.
  • Demonstrable experience in collecting field data (coastal and seabed mapping) and the capacity to undertake independent fieldwork are also desired.
  • Ability to implement research in collaboration with a range of stakeholders (government agencies, private landholders, conservation groups etc.).
  • Excellent English written communication skills including the capacity to write research results into scientific papers.
  • A proven track record of academic excellence. Applicants with first-authored publications in quality journals will score highly.

How to apply

Please refer to the how to apply for a research degree page for application information.

Further information

If you wish to discuss your research interests and project proposal before applying, please contact Associate Professor Daniel Ierodiaconou via email or phone +61 3 556 33224.