Deepwater Monitoring of Marine Parks

Developing biologically sensitive indicators from underwater imagery to underpin national- and global-scale monitoring programs for deepwater Marine Parks

Degree type


Closing date

1 February 2024



Citizenship requirement

Domestic / International

About the research project

The development of biologically based indicator metrics is crucial for the effective management and monitoring of marine parks, as they provide a quantitative and scientifically rigorous approach to understanding the status of marine assemblages. These indicators can provide key information about changes in species composition, abundance, and distribution, which can be used to track the effectiveness of management efforts and inform decision-making processes. The use of long-term datasets can also provide insights into the dynamics of marine ecosystems and help to detect trends and patterns that may not be immediately apparent from short-term observations.

It is also important to consider the spatial and temporal scale of the monitoring program, as the diversity and complexity of marine ecosystems can vary greatly across different locations and over time. By integrating data from multiple locations and over extended periods of time, a national, integrated monitoring program can provide a comprehensive understanding of the status of marine assemblages and help to ensure the effective protection and conservation of these important ecosystems.

The objective of this PhD project is to determine the potential for using underwater marine imagery to extract indicator metrics for monitoring the status of marine parks. The project aims to explore existing indicator metrics, such as those developed by Stuart-Smith et al. (2017) and the Essential Ocean Variables (EOVs) proposed by the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) and determine if they can be extracted from extensive imagery datasets collected from shallow coral reef and temperate mesophotic ecosystems in Australia. Additionally, the project will contribute to the development of new imagery-based metrics that can support national and international initiatives. The results of this project will contribute to the development of more accurate assessments of marine values and can inform marine conservation and management policies for stakeholders such as Parks Australia.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Jacquomo Monk


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 $32,192 per annum (2024 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.

Other funding opportunities and fees

For further information regarding other scholarships on offer, and the various fees of undertaking a research degree, please visit our Scholarships and fees on research degrees page.


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

Ensure your eligibility for the scholarship round by referring to our Key Dates.

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:

  • Interest in quantitative ecology, fisheries science, community ecology
  • Familiarity in the analysis of large multivariate data sets, advanced programming level in R
  • Experience in the identification of demersal fishes and sessile invertebrates
  • A familiarity with continental shelf ecology (including identifying demersal fishes and sessile invertebrates)
  • Experience in annotating and/or analysis of spatial and/or temporal trends from underwater imagery datasets
  • Understanding of stressors/pressures relating to continental shelf regions & of conservation and management challenges

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Experience in scientific writing
  • GIS experience desirable

Application process

  1. Select your project, and check that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria, including citizenship;
  2. Contact Dr Jacquomo Monk to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. In your application:
    • 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.
    • Submit a signed supervisory support form, a CV including contact details of 2 referees and your project research proposal.
  4. Apply prior to 1 February 2024.

Full details of the application process can be found under the 'How to apply' section of the Research Degrees website.

Following the 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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