Gavin Dunbar

Senior Lecturer
Antarctic Research Centre

Teaching in 2020


BSc(Hons) VUW (1991); MSc VUW (1994); PhD James Cook (2000)

Current research projects

Gavin Dunbar rejoined the Antarctic Research Centre in November 2005 from 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.

At the Antarctic Research Centre, Gavin is engaged in Marsden-funded research looking into the stability of the Ross Ice Shelf. This research project, which also involves Lionel Carter, Tim Naish and Peter Barrett, will focus 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 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.


View a list of publications from Gavin Dunbar.

Teaching in 2020