Dr Joanne Whittaker, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania

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01 September 2013


How Australia and India broke up—100 million years ago

Jo Whittaker likes to solve jigsaw puzzles, and as a marine geoscientist she is tackling the biggest puzzle on the planet—the formation of continents.

With the help of Australia’s national marine research vessels, and her L’Oréal Fellowship, Jo is reconstructing how the Indian, Australian and Antarctic tectonic plates separated over the past 200 million years, forming the Indian Ocean and the continents as we see them today. This information will help us model climate change better, find new gas resources, and understand the dynamics of the land in which we live.

Qualifications

2008 PhD (Geophysics), The University of Sydney
2005 Master of Geophysics, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
2003 Bachelor of Science with Honours (Geology)/Bachelor of Commerce,The University of Sydney

Career highlights, awards, fellowships, grants

2013-present Marine Geoscientist, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania
2013 Edgeworth David Medal, Royal Society of NSW
2012-2013 Chief investigator on three separate grants (from CSIRO and Schmidt Oceanographic Institute) for a total of 16 weeks’ ship time (worth almost $5.5 million) on Australia’s Marine National Facility research vessel Investigator
2011 Invited speaker, 36th Professor Harry Messel International Science School: Light and Matter, Sydney
2010 NSW Tall Poppy Award, Australian Institute of Policy & Science
2010 Lead chief investigator on grant for three weeks’ ship time (worth almost $1 million) on Australia’s Marine National Facility research vesselSouthern Surveyor, funded by CSIRO and Statoil
2010 Invited speaker, Austral Portals Symposium, New York, USA
2009 Invited speaker, Marine Geoscience Leadership Symposium, Washington DC, USA
2009-2013 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, The University of Sydney
2008-present Honorary Research Fellow, University of Leeds, UK
2008-2009 Principal Research Geodynamicist, GETECH, UK
2008 Awarded “Best Oral Presentation” at the Third Eastern Australian Basins Symposium, Sydney
2007 Postgraduate Research Prize, The University of Sydney
2007 Invited speaker, Emerging Plays in Australasia, Geological Society of London
2005-2008 Australian Postgraduate Award
2005-2007 Demonstrator, University of Sydney
2005 Seismic Field Officer, Geological and Nuclear Sciences, New Zealand
2004 Graduate Research Scholarship, School of Earth Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
2004 Graduate Research Scholarship, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
2004 Demonstrator, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington
2003 Department of Marine Sciences Scholarship, The University of Sydney
2003 Rio Tinto Mapping Prize, The University of Sydney
2003 Consultancy Support Officer, Holmes Air Sciences, Sydney

Top five publications

Whittaker JM, Müller RD, Leitchenkov G, Stagg H, Sdrolias M, Gaina C and Goncharov A (2007) Major Australian-Antarctic plate reorganisation at Hawaiian-Emperor bend time, Science 318: 83–86. (Impact factor 31, 86 citations)

Whittaker JM, Müller RD, Roest WR, Wessel P and Smith WHF (2008) How supercontinents and superoceans affect seafloor roughness, Nature 456:938–941. (Impact factor 36, 9 citations)

Fielding CF, Whittaker JM, Henrys S, Wilson T and Naish TR (2008) Seismic facies and stratigraphy of the Cenozoic succession in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica: implications for tectonic, climatic and glacial history,Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Paleoecology 260(1–2):8–29. (Impact factor 2, 43 citations)

Whittaker JM (2009) The hydrangeas of plate tectonics, Nature Geoscience, 2:246–47. (Impact factor 12, 0 citations).

Whittaker JM, Müller RD, Sdrolias M and Heine C (2007) Sunda-Java trench kinematics, slab window formation and overriding plate deformation since the Cretaceous, Earth and Planetary Science Letters 255:445–457. (Impact factor 4, 30 citations)

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