Faculty of Science

Influence of physical drivers on marine megafauna movement patterns

The main goal of this project is to understand the role of environmental variables in influencing movement patterns of marine megafauna.

  1. Summary of the project
  2. Eligibility criteria
  3. Readings
  4. Contact the research team leader
  5. How to apply
  6. Scholarships

Summary of the project

Understanding animal movement is especially important for highly migratory species, internationally threatened or vulnerable, such as humpback whales, loggerhead turtles and whale sharks. Advancing current knowledge of marine megafauna movement patterns and ecology on which to base environmental laws for protection is imperative to minimise impacts from anthropogenic activities.

We have just commenced an exciting ARC DECRA project 'Movement patterns of marine megafauna movement at unprecedented global scales' and the PhD project will be integrant part of the larger DECRA project.

The main objective is to significantly advance global knowledge in the field of movement ecology with two main overarching goals:

  1. to understand how anthropogenic activities may be affecting the movement of marine megafauna species and
  2. to understand how movement data can be used in support of conservation and management.

The PhD applicant will be analysing global environmental datasets and developing statistical models to predict occurrence of marine megafauna and potential impacts from expected changes (e.g. global warming). Due to data scarcity in some areas around the globe, the candidate will also test the transferability of the models developed while predicting to new locations where data are currently missing.

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Eligibility criteria

General UWA PhD entrance requirements can be found on the Future Students website.

Requirements specific to this project:

  • Quantitative skills are essential - having a degree in Engineering, Maths or Physics will present an advantage, whilst a keen interest in ecological questions is desirable
  • Proficiency in using GIS (e.g., ArcGIS) and knowledge of programming languages (such as R, Matlab, python or C++) is desirable
  • Good understanding of statistics and statistical models is preferable
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Contact the research team leader

Once you have ensured that you meet the eligibility criteria and are ready to discuss a proposal, contact the research team leader to identify a potential supervisor.

Research team leader: Dr Ana Sequeira
My research focuses on the development of models to assist understanding the marine environment with strong emphasis in supporting marine spatial planning and conservation. I am an ARC DECRA Research Fellow at the Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre (IOMRC) supported by UWA and AIMS.

This project will be co-supervised by Professor Charitha Pattiaratchi (UWA) and by a collaborator from the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

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How to apply

After you have discussed your project with the research team leader you should be in a position to proceed to step two of the UWA application process: 'Lodge an application'.

Different procedures apply to domestic and international students.

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Domestic students

All domestic students may apply for Research Training Program and University Postgraduate Awards (UPA) scholarships.

The Australian Government's Endeavour Awards and Scholarships are available to Australian applicants for study in participating countries and regions.

International students

A range of scholarships are available from international organisations and governments. The full list, organised by country, is available on the Future Students website.

In addition, all international students may apply for International Research Training Program scholarships.

The Australian Government's Endeavour Awards and Scholarships are available to international applicants from participating countries and regions.

Indigenous students

Indigenous students are encouraged to apply for Indigenous Postgraduate Research Supplementary Scholarships.

Forrest Foundation scholarships

All international and Australian students who wish to study towards the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at The University of Western Australia may apply for Forrest Scholarships.

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