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NERC CDT In Oil & Gas PhD studentship: Investigating the effect of noise from Oil & Gas activities on the collective behaviour of fish and marine mammals

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  • Full or part time
    Dr R Eftimie
    Prof T Dawson
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

Project Description

A Funded 4-year PhD Studentship is available at the University of Dundee within the Schools of Social Sciences and Science and Engineering. Studentship Start Date 1 October 2016.

There is increasing evidence that the wellbeing of marine animals is affected by the exposure to underwater sound (noise) that arises from activities related to the Oil & Gas (O&G) industry during the exploration, development, production and decomissioning phases of the O&G activities. In particular, the past 10 years have seen an increase in various experimental approaches to test the effects of noise on the wellbeing of individual marine animals. On the other hand, various approaches have been developed to measure external noise levels associated with O&G activities, and actions have been suggested on how to reduce the impact on marine life.
One of the open questions in the field of behavioural marine ecology (difficult to be addressed experimentally) is assessing the specific impacts of noise associated with O&G industry on the behavioural changes at the group level (e.g., persistence or splitting of schools of fish, pods of whales, etc.). This is an important aspect to be addressed since the survival of some species depends on being in large groups (which help individuals against predators, finding food, etc.).

The goal of this research is to use mathematical modelling (combined with available experimental data) to propose hypotheses regarding the effect of O&G noise on the inter-individual communication between the members of large marine animal aggregations.

The research will help increase our understanding of the role of man-made noise on the biological mechanisms that disrupt marine animal movements and behaviour, and eventually lead to better mitigation methods to increase population survival.

The successful candidate will have a background in Mathematics or other related disciplines (Physics, Engineering, etc.). Candidates must have a minimum 2.1 degree or higher, and hold UK citizenship. If you have a 2.2 degree, but have also obtained a masters qualification or have equivalent evidence of prior professional practice or learning, you are also eligible. Because of NERC restrictions, the full studentships will be available only to UK residents. For complete information on students eligibility, please consult the following websites:
(point 44)
(Chapter B11, page 16)

• Candidates should have a background in Mathematics (or related disciplines: Physics, Engineering, etc.).
• Computer programming skills in Matlab, C, C++, etc. are required (since the candidate will have to be able to perform numerical simulations of spatial mathematical models).
• Interest in marine ecology is desirable.

The following guidance relating to evaluation criteria is provided for information to candidates applying for the above studentships. In general, the evaluators in assessing the applications will be looking for evidence closely matching the majority of the following attributes:
1. Clarity and focus of applicant’s statement of purpose and potential for higher degree studies.
2. Examples of research experience where applicable including undergraduate/MSc projects and any relevant research publications or presentations.
3. Degree of interest expressed by faculty / potential supervisors in working with the applicant as graduate student.
4. Writing / communication skills.
5. Status and quality of the applicant’s references.

Funding Notes

This project is funded by NERC and is for 48 months and is open to UK residents only.
Candidates must have a minimum 2.1 degree or higher, or a 2.2 degree, but have also obtained a relevant masters qualification or have equivalent evidence of prior professional practice or learning.
The successful applicant will receive a stipend and full tuition fees will be covered. Additional funding will be available for travel and training. Further information on eligibility can be found at:
(point 44)
(Chapter B11, page 16)

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