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The evolution and extinction of meiolaniid turtles on Lord Howe Island – PhD

3 year PhD project available at Curtin University, Perth, WA, Australia

With Dr Stephen Poropat, Prof. Kliti Grice ARC Laureate Fellow and Dr Alexander Holman


The evolution and extinction of meiolaniid turtles on Lord Howe Island

The club-tailed, horn-headed turtle Meiolania platyceps has been known to science for almost 140 years. Most Meiolania fossils come from Lord Howe Island, a geologically young (~7 Ma) Pacific island that was never inhabited by humans prior to its discovery in the 19th Century. Meiolania was extinct prior to human arrival on Lord Howe, but it is unclear when and why it went extinct. The collection of new fossil specimens, coupled with further research on (and application of state-of-the-art geochemical techniques to) previously collected specimens, might shed light on these and other questions. Some of these might include: when meiolaniid turtles arrived on Lord Howe Island, how they got there, and from whence they came; the palaeoecology of Meiolania, including its preferred diet and habitat; and the reason(s) for its extinction.


State-of the analytical infrastructure is available in WA-OIGC (Instrumentation – Western Australian Organic & Isotope Chemistry | Curtin University, Perth, Australia) including TOFSIMS Focused Ion Beam Facility, John de Laeter Centre | Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia in JDLC.


Field trips and excursions will take place during scholarship.


The project is supported by an Australian Research Council Discovery GRANT.

Ca. Stipend $27,000 per annum

Suitable applicant must have a first class Hons degree, Master’s degree or equivalent in Paleontology, Geology, Biology, Chemistry, Geochemistry, Biochemistry, or Environmental Science.

The applicant will be supervised by a team of geochemists/geologists, paleontologists, analytical chemists and microbiologists.


Please send full CV and two referee names to Dr Stephen Poropat (