Ecoacoustics with the Internet of Things

Using the Internet of Things to conduct proactive monitoring of endangered forest megafauna

Degree type

PhD

Closing date

10 October 2022

Campus

Hobart

Citizenship requirement

Domestic/International

About the research project

Ecoacoustics is the application of bioacoustics recording and analysis technologies to answer ecological questions. It offers a non-intrusive method for monitoring vocalising species in natural habitats, including birds, frogs, bats and other megafauna. However, most monitoring processes require the deployment of recorders for relatively short periods of time (several weeks), after which the recording must be collected from the field. This makes it difficult to monitor some species, particularly activities relating to breeding.

This project will contribute to the next phase in ecoacoustics: onboard analysis of captured audio data with detections transmitted over a LoRaWAN network. This is a multifaceted problem, spanning hardware, software and ecological practice, with the focus of this project on the machine learning tools required and how they can be best used to conduct effective ecological monitoring without operating 24 hours a day (to extend battery life of an enclosing device). It will explore questions about the trade-offs between recogniser specificity and model complexity, and consequent computational effort when using the recogniser in practice. The study aims to develop targeted software-based recognisers for monitoring breeding activity of iconic species (swift parrots, wedge-tailed eagles) as well as activity by sugar gliders, a key threat to swift parrots. The work will be conducted in collaboration with Sustainable Timber Tasmania and other partner organisations, drawing on their extensive library of forest acoustic recordings and expertise in forest management.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr James Montgomery

Funding

Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,854 per annum (2022 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.

Eligibility

Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Strong software development skills

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Background in data analysis, background in ecological management

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr James Montgomery to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. Submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application, you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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