Dr Michela Mariani

Dr Michela Mariani discusses the highlights of her PhD studies in the School of Geography.

Dr Michela Mariani in the lab. Picture: Supplied

With previous degrees obtained in my home country, I decided to undertake a PhD abroad. Melbourne was suggested to me by researchers where I was working in Italy and once I had discussed my research proposal with my prospective supervisor, I got very interested and decided to apply. Studying at Melbourne, in an internationally competitive environment, played an important role in my career development. I am now more ambitious, and keen to explore new techniques to get better and better in my area of research.

I am inspired by the notion that the past holds the key to understanding the future. By studying the past we can disentangle the events that have led to changes in the natural environment and we can then predict scenarios in a climate-changing future. My research focuses on the reconstruction of past fire activities and related environmental changes across the Southern Hemisphere, especially western Tasmania.

In 2016, I received the John and Allan Gilmour Award from the Faculty of Science. This constituted an important step forward in my research as the accompanying grant funded my participation in a workshop in Europe. While connecting me with other experts in my field of study, this workshop helped me to better understand the mathematical models applied to fossil pollen records to estimate regional and local vegetation changes and afforded me the opportunity t use my data to test these models with the supervision of experts.

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