Deadline: 03 Jan 2024
Published: 14 Nov 2023
The University of Southampton is recruiting for a PhD project in Spatiotemporal patterns of the southern Indian Ocean higher predator community.
Numerous seabird and marine mammal species occur in the subtropical and subantarctic zones of the southern Indian Ocean. This project aims to model and identify the species- and community-level distribution of these charismatic animals to reveal ecosystem processes and patterns in the region and support spatial conservation and management initiatives.
Numerous seabird and marine mammal species occur in the subtropical and subantarctic zones of the southern Indian Ocean region. They breed, moult and rest at French, South African and Australian islands in the region and forage at sea in the Exclusive Economic Zones of these nations, the Convention Area, and Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction. Information on the at-sea distribution of these species is important for understanding ecosystem processes and patterns in the region, and is a key component of any spatial conservation and management frameworks. Information on the distribution of marine predators is widely used to define priority areas for conservation and management, including several such initiatives in the extended Southern Ocean. Seabird and marine mammal distribution has been studied mainly using two methods: animal-borne biotelemetry/biologging and at-sea sightings records.
Using data on the distribution of marine mammals and seabirds–collected mainly through long-term programmes at French and South African islands–this project aims to model and understand the species- and community-level distribution of seabirds and marine mammals southern Indian Ocean region to: i) predict areas of high ecological significance, ii) identify biogeographic structuring of marine predator communities, and iii) support multinational spatial conservation and management initiatives in the region.
The project forms part of the project “Ecoregionalisation of the pelagic zone in the subantarctic and subtropical Indian Ocean” (https://meetings.ccamlr.org/en/sc-camlr-38/bg/29). Analysis will be conducted in programme R, and basic experience with one of the programming environments R, Python or Matlab is essential.
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