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The ‘untapped organic remains’ of insects – PhD

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

With Prof. Kliti Grice ARC Laureate Fellow

Collaboration with Prof. Lorenz Schwark (Kiel University), Dr Vera Korasidis (University of Melbourne) and A/Prof. Marco Coolen (Curtin University)


The ‘untapped organic remains’ of insects

This project aims to unlock an untapped record of our planet’s past, insect-derived geolipids, by analysing key reference lipids and biopolymers from a range of modern insects. The well-studied inorganic fossil record has provided a framework for understanding major events in the evolution of life and our planet. However, the proposed project aims to significantly advance current perceptions, by accessing the parallel but rarer organic record of insects that are often entombed and exceptionally preserved fossil material. To achieve this goal, a range of modern reference insects will be investigated to evaluate the lipids and biopolymers (and stable C, H and N isotopes) they synthesise.


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.


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 Biology, or Zoology, particularly Entomology or alternatively in Chemistry, Geology or Palaeontology.

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



Please send full CV and two referee names to Prof. Kliti Grice (