[MARMAM] PhD opportunity, bottlenose dolphin acoustics, Cardigan Bay

Simon Allen simon.allen at bristol.ac.uk
Tue Oct 29 14:07:19 PDT 2019

Dear Marmamers,

We are pleased to disseminate the details of the following opportunity (for EU/UK students only) to win a prestigious PhD scholarship to work on bottlenose dolphins in Wales through the University of Bristol (UoB). The NERC GW4+ project is detailed on findaphd.com: https://www.findaphd.com/phds/project/fine-scale-acoustic-and-movement-behaviour-of-bottlenose-dolphins-tursiops-truncatus-in-cardigan-bay-wales/?p112992

Background: Bottlenose dolphins are a qualifying feature of three Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) in the UK, two of which are in Cardigan Bay, Wales. Although the population in Cardigan Bay is thought to be stable over the long-term, recent monitoring suggests a decline over the last decade, the reasons for which remain unclear. It is possible that dolphins are moving outside of the Cardigan Bay SACs, an aspect that requires further investigation, along with fine-scale acoustic and movement behaviour to assess habitat use and, ultimately, guide conservation and management.

Aims and methods: Significantly advance our knowledge of how individual dolphins use habitat in Cardigan Bay and Pen Llyn a’r Sarnau SACs, Wales. The project will utilise acoustic monitoring techniques such as towed arrays and fixed-bottom acoustic recorders with detailed systematic behavioural observation to determine the fine-scale characteristics of how individuals within the broader population interact, range, use habitat and how these behaviours fluctuate temporally. The signature identification method will also be used to explore habitat use and ranging patterns of specific individuals in Cardigan Bay. This project provides an opportunity for long-term monitoring of cetacean vocalisations and underwater, ambient noise levels in the Cardigan Bay SACs. We will explore how habitat types vary in ambient noise levels and how this may influence dolphin visitation rates. Ultimately, the results of this project will shed important light on individual dolphin ranging patterns, as well as identifying critical areas of use, thereby informing the management of this population, central in UK and Irish waters.

Funding Notes: NERC GW4+ DTP competition funded project. Fees, stipend and research costs are covered for UK students and residents for 3.5 years.

Candidate: We seek a highly motivated student with a marine science, conservation or behavioural ecology background. Knowledge of bioacoustics and practical skills including small boat handling would be advantageous. This is an industrial CASE award. Time is spent during the 3.5-year studentship at the CASE partner, Natural Resources Wales (NRW). Up to 4 months per year will be spent at the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre (CBMWC) in Wales for fieldwork. The remainder will be spent at the UoB.

The candidate will be supervised by Drs. Stephanie King (UoB), Simon Allen (UoB) and Sarah Perry (CBMWC), with input from Dr. Tom Stringell (NRW).

Please use the link provided above to apply, or email Dr. King (Stephanie.King at bristol.ac.uk<mailto:Stephanie.King at bristol.ac.uk>) for further advice.

Cheers, Simon (on behalf of the supervisory panel).

Dr Simon J Allen
School of Biological Sciences
University of Bristol
Bristol BS8 1TQ UK

Mob: +44 (0) 77047 53101
Email: Simon.Allen at bristol.ac.uk<mailto:Simon.Allen at bristol.ac.uk>
Web: http://www.sharkbaydolphins.org
Twitter: @SimonJAllen1

 [cid593186FF-D039-4065-8F5B-69FB89D68B2E at uzh.ch]

Recent papers:
Declines in dolphin survival and reproduction following a heatwave https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(19)30217-9?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS0960982219302179%3Fshowall%3Dtrue
Sexual displays involving marine sponges by Australian humpback dolphins http://rdcu.be/w3tL
Abundance and fidelity of dolphins to a trawl fishery https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-05189-0<https://emea01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nature.com%2Farticles%2Fs41598-017-05189-0&data=02%7C01%7C%7C58abd5f0ce074aaa92fe08d6a256357e%7Ceeea3199afa041ebbbf2f6e42c3da7cf%7C0%7C0%7C636874888971540847&sdata=1Kl8aDCzQ6KLGYrs18rdXAly7Bms0j%2BbqJpjSRmSOgY%3D&reserved=0>

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