QUADRAT DTP: The effects of anthropogenic noise on marine mammals: a meta-analysis

   School of Biological Sciences

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  Dr H Kunc, Dr Davina Derous  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This fully funded, 42-month PhD project is part of the QUADRAT Doctoral Training Partnership.

Anthropogenically driven environmental changes affect our planet at an unprecedented scale and are considered to be a critical threat to biodiversity. According to the World Health Organization, anthropogenic noise is one of the most hazardous forms of anthropogenically driven environmental change and is recognised as a major global pollutant. Given that more than two-thirds of our planet is covered with water, there is a pressing need to get a holistic understanding of the effects of anthropogenic noise on marine species. The effects of anthropogenic noise on marine mammals are a subject of growing concern, and single studies suggest that noise affects both their behaviour and physiology. However, single studies cannot provide holistic quantitative assessments of the potential effects of noise. The results of this project will provide the quantitative evidence necessary for national and international legislative bodies to regulate this environmental stressor more effectively.

This project aims to quantify the effects of anthropogenic noise across marine mammals, specifically cetaceans and pinnipeds. We will use a series of state-of-the-art phylogenetically controlled meta-analyses to quantify the effects of noise on marine mammals. The work will include several meta-analyses to quantify the relationship between anthropogenic noise and (i) behaviour, (ii) physiology, and (3) movement ecology and the distribution of these animals to provide the first quantitative estimates of the effects of noise pollution across marine mammals.

 As part of this project, the successful candidate will be trained in research synthesis, including state-of-the-art statistical analysis in the programming language R, study design, and how to communicate the results through stakeholder engagement.

Candidate Background:

Although this project is on marine mammals, the successful candidate does not only need to have a passion for mammals. The successful completion of the project requires a candidate to be very interested in the theoretical foundations of the outlined work and to have a strong interest in learning more about computer programming, how to maintain databases, and how to carry out complex statistical analyses. This is a purely desk-based bio-informatics project.

Candidates should have, or expect to achieve, a minimum of a 2.1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject. Applicants with a minimum of a 2.2 Honours degree may be considered providing they have a Distinction at Masters level.

We encourage applications from all backgrounds and communities, and are committed to having a diverse, inclusive team.

Informal enquiries are encouraged, please contact for Dr Hansjoerg Kunc ([Email Address Removed]) for further information.



  • Please visit this page for full application information: How To Apply – QUADRAT
  • Please send your completed application form, along with academic transcripts to [Email Address Removed]
  • Please ensure that two written references from your referees are submitted. It is your responsibility to ensure these are provided, as we will not request references on your behalf.
  • Unfortunately, due to workload constraints, we cannot consider incomplete applications.
  • CV's submitted directly through a FindAPhD enquiry WILL NOT be considered.
  • If you require any additional assistance in submitting your application or have any queries about the application process, please don't hesitate to contact us at [Email Address Removed]







Biological Sciences (4) Environmental Sciences (13) Veterinary Sciences (35)

Funding Notes

This opportunity is open to UK and International students (The proportion of international students appointed through the QUADRAT DTP is capped at 30% by UKRI NERC).
Funding covers:
• A monthly stipend for accommodation and living costs, based on UKRI rates (£18,622 for the 23/24 academic year. Stipend rates for the 24/25 academic year have not been set yet)
• Tuition Fees
• Research and training costs
QUADRAT DTP does not provide funding to cover visa and associated healthcare surcharges for international students.


• Kebke A, Samarra F & Derous D. 2022. Climate change and cetacean health: impacts and future directions. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B377: 20210249
• Kunc HP & Schmidt R 2019. The effects of anthropogenic noise on animals: a meta-analysis. Biology Letters 15, 2019.0649
• Kunc HP, McLaughlin KE, & Schmidt R. 2016. Aquatic noise pollution: implications for individuals, populations, and ecosystems. Proc. Roy. Soc. B 283: 20160839