Te Herenga Waka - Victoria University
Drilling Science Coordinator
Gavin Dunbar is the Drilling Science Coordinator responsible for sediment core and gravity core curation on the SWAIS2C project.
Gavin is part of the Antarctic Research Centre at Te Herenga Waka: Victoria University of Wellington where he is engaged in Marsden-funded research looking into the stability of the Ross Ice Shelf. This research project focuses on the past response of the Ross Ice Shelf to climatic change, and how this has influenced ocean circulation in the Southern Ocean, including around New Zealand. A key component of this research is the SWAIS2C project and the ANDRILL drilling programme which successfully recovered 1284.87m of sediment from a drill core beneath the McMurdo Ice Shelf, near Ross Island, during the 2006/07 field season. Changes in the type of sediment deposited under the modern ice shelf clearly demonstrates its dynamic nature, with periods of time dominated by diatom-rich sediment indicating, warm, open water conditions around Ross Island. Initial studies are underway to try and reconstruct the temperature of the surrounding ocean during these "warm" periods using subtle changes in the chemistry of microscopic shells preserved in the core sediment..
Prior to joining VUW, Gavin was at the Research School of Earth Sciences at The Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra. Gavin’s research at ANU focussed on reconstructing the ancient climate history of the Western Pacific region from coral and speleothem (cave deposits) geochemistry, particularly from data gathered in the Indonesian archipelago.