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BSc, Hobart and William Smith Colleges (USA, 2009)

MSc, University of Minnesota Duluth (USA, 2011)

PhD, College of Earth Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University (USA, 2016)

Associate Fellow of Higher Degree Research Supervision, Macquarie University (2019)

Dr. April Abbott is an early career geochemist with experience working with both organic and inorganic paleoclimate proxies. She is particularly interested in how our knowledge of the interaction between marine sediments and the overlying water column can further our interpretations of sedimentary records of Earth's past climates. Her current focus is using marine pore waters and scanning electron microscopy of fine grained sediments to better understand the cycling of rare earth elements in the modern ocean in order to constrain the potential diagenetic influences on the paleoclimate record.

Since 2017, Dr Abbott has been the director of the Collaborative Australian Post-graduate Sea Training Alliance Network (CAPSTAN).  CAPSTAN is at-sea education targeted for masters or honours level students that is a first-of-its-kind in Australia utilising the state-of-the-art facilities on board RV Investigator for a truly interdisciplinary training program for those interested in a career in the marine sciences. CAPSTAN collaborators and participants represent every Australian State.

Research interests

As a geochemical oceanographer, Dr. Abbott typically spends between 1 and 6 weeks at sea each year.  She often has students from undergraduate through HDR participate in these voyages to assist in collecting samples for upcoming projects.  Some of her current and on-going projects with collaborators and students include: 

  • Glacial-Interglacial changes in sediment provenance
  • Roles of clays in oceanic REE cycling (Froniters paper here - Open access!)
  • Sediment characteristics influence on leaching techniques
  • Designing an affordable sea-going glove bag
  • Re-examining Ocean Anoxic Events from IODP cores
  • Rare earth element flux from calcareous sediments (Geology paper here)

Find out more about the projects and the research voyages on her blog.


Dr. April Abbott holds a Graduate Certificate in College and University Teaching from Oregon State University.  At Macquarie, her main teaching responsibilities include:

  • GEOS206 Marine Sediments: Records of Past Earth (convenor) including 5 day field trip to NSW South Coast near Ulladulla
  • GEOS335 Marine Science CAPSTONE unit (convenor)
  • GEOS710 Records of Palaeoenvironments: Life and Geochemistry
  • GEOS920 Palaeoenvironments and Biogeochemistry

Dr. Abbott has also given visiting lectures as part of GEOS126, GEOS204, GEOS309, and GEOS700 (Research Frontiers) and supervises student projects in ENVS304 (Integrated Climate Science), FOSC300 (PACE), GEOS348 (PACE), GEOS704 (readings in Geoscience) and GEOS706 (Advanced Field Techniques). She has also given lectures as part of the Topics in Australian Marine Science (TAMS) unit for students doing the Masters in Marine Science and Management. In addition to GEOS206, Dr. Abbott has also taught in the field on GEOS373 New Zealand Field Trip and has been a trainer on both the 2017 and 2019 CAPSTAN voyages.   

Community engagement

Dr. Abbott is involved in community outreach through activities such as Pint of Science, a Sydney-wide event inviting the public to join experts for a night of science at a local pub. She has initiated school science activities through her role on the department’s outreach committee, and has personally participated in programs such as Skype a Scientist and STEMM Professionals in Schools to further increase the number of schools we are able to reach. On campus, Dr Abbott is a regular volunteer for Open Day and LEAP shows. For both events, the activities she organizes are designed to engage the whole family (Open Day) and the non-scientist students (Open Day, LEAP).

Dr. Abbott also regularly has media appearances following research or training voyages. Most recently, she chatted with ABC Hobart radio before and after the 2019 CAPSTAN voyage. As the director of CAPSTAN, she designs and implements an at sea training program for masters level students interested in marine science that emphasizes community engagement.  Under her guidance they contribute to The Field Blog, run by the American Geophysical Union and reaching a broad audience.  2019 blog topics included geophysicsbird observationsplankton and oceanography.  

Education/Academic qualification

Ocean, Earth, and Atmospheric Science, PhD, Influence of a Sedimentary Source of Neodymium on Deep Ocean epsilon Nd Distributions, Oregon State University

Award Date: 18 Mar 2016

College and University Teaching, Graduate Certificate, Oregon State University

Award Date: 6 Jun 2014

Geological Sciences, M.S., Pleistocene Temperature Variability in East Africa: A 1.2 Million Year TEXX86 Record from Lake Malawi, University of Minnesota

Award Date: 1 Jul 2011

Geoscience, B.S., Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Award Date: 17 May 2009

External positions

Director, Collaborative Australian Postgraduate Sea Training Alliance Network

Oct 2017 → …


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