Understanding habitat use by snow petrels in a changing environment

Closing Date

31st December 2020*

Applicants should contact the primary supervisor, and submit their Expression of Interest (EOI) and Application as soon as possible.

*unless filled earlier

The Research Project

Antarctic seabirds are susceptible to a range of influences at and near their breeding sites during the summer months, and across their extensive winter migratory ranges. Identifying how changes in marine and terrestrial habitats will effect seabirds will aid in their conservation.

This project will investigate the relationship between snow petrels and their environment using seabird foraging, at-sea, and breeding habitat observations and physical characteristics of the environment including sea-ice and wind field data. Data will be used to establish species-environment links and projected in line with CMIP6 climate model output to predict population changes in the future. Analyses will initially use statistical methods to identify key environmental factors that likely influence their distribution and abundance.

The snow petrel is an iconic species breeding in ice-free areas around the Antarctic continent. They feed primarily on fish and krill in the loose pack ice within reach of their colonies. Nesting locations are governed by their distance and access to productive feeding grounds as well as the availability of suitable cavities. Snow petrel performance is linked to regional sea ice concentration and extent through their dependence on sea-ice for foraging and the association between sea-ice and krill. Their main prey, Antarctic krill, depend on sea ice for their winter food supply and are the focus of a large fishery which make snow petrels an important indicator of ecosystem change.

  • An understanding of ocean and/or seabird ecology and ecosystem dynamics
  • Strong quantitative skills, Experience with analysis software such as Matlab, R, Python or GIS
  • An understanding of oceanographic fundamentals, An ability to work at sea, Ocean-going fieldwork experience focusing on bird observations
  • Experience/understanding of Southern Ocean birdlife Field work experience , Ability or capacity to develop the ability to work with complex datasets or model output

See the following web page for entry requirements: www.utas.edu.au/research/degrees/what-is-a-research-degree

Application Process

Applicants who require more information or are interested in this specific project should first contact the listed Supervisor. Information and guidance on the application process can be found on the Apply Now website.

Information about scholarships is available on the Scholarships webpage.

More Information

Please contact, Stuart Corney for further information.