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Using Sound to Monitor Wildlife


   College of Science and Engineering

   Applications accepted all year round  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Automated monitoring is an important aspect of future approaches to biodiversity preservation. You could be at the forefront of this new wave of conservation biologists by engaging in a PhD using automated methods to monitor wildlife.  The Australian Acoustic Observatory consists of 90 listening stations situated all over Australia, recording environmental sound 24/7. This valuable dataset needs to be explored to realise its value as a monitoring tool. Thus far we have detected 140 species of birds, mammals and frogs – but there is so much more to do, finding ways to analyse the rest of the species we can hear, examining patterns of calling and factors effecting these patterns, and ground-truthing data analysis with site visits.

The PhD may investigate:

  • patterns of calling of any one, or several, of over 300 species
  • factors influencing calling such as weather, time of day, flowering and other species calls
  • more detailed examinations of species vocal interactions
  • searching for rare species or invasive species arrivals
  • ground truthing patterns we are detecting
  • other ideas which can be discussed with the student

To be a successful applicant you would ideally have a background in ecology, conservation or acoustic biology. Ability to use automated methods to detect sounds will be a bonus, but is not required. You would either have, or be likely, to get a first-class Honours or Master’s degree at an institution of high repute. The degree must have included a research project that represents a significant contribution to the final mark. Published papers in reputable journals are especially valuable evidence of research ability, but a high GPA can be sufficient, so if your GPA is good but you have no publications please consider applying.

If you are interested, please email us with a CV and brief letter stating your interest and background and we will let you know whether we think your skill set and academic record would place you well against the competition.

Applications are open for non-Australian applicants both in Australia and overseas, and Australian domestic students.


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