[MARMAM] PhD call – southern right whale foraging ecology (MRI Whale Unit)

Els Vermeulen els.vermeulen at up.ac.za
Mon Feb 15 03:58:30 PST 2021

The Mammal Research Institute (MRI) Whale Unit at the University of
Pretoria is looking for an enthusiastic PhD student to take on an exciting
project related to the in-depth assessment of contemporary foraging ecology
and migratory behaviour of South Africa’s population of southern right
whales, in the context of some recent anomalous demographic shifts in the
population. A vital part of this investigation is the assessment of the
changed residence time on the South African breeding ground, the
identification of (possibly altered) migration routes, and the
determination of current feeding distributions. Such information will be
attained through satellite tagging of adult individuals during their winter
migration. This project will form an integral part of the related work
conducted under the Southern Ocean Research Partnership (

The student will be supervised by Dr Els Vermeulen and Prof Andre
Ganswindt, and will be based at the MRI Whale Unit’s office in Hermanus,
South Africa. Funding is currently available to cover all project related
costs. However, the project will only commence once a competitive PhD
fellowship has been attained.

We welcome applicants of all backgrounds. Successful applicants will be
hard-working, enthusiastic, and independently motivated students with a
strong academic background, an advanced knowledge of statistical modelling,
and with excellent communication skills. Previous boat-based field
experience would be highly advantageous but is not a must.

To find out more about the MRI Whale Unit:
https://www.mammalresearchinstitute.science/whale-unit -

Please direct all enquiries and applications to Dr Els Vermeulen (
els.vermeulen at up.ac.za). For applications to be considered, include a cover
letter, an academic transcript and CV. Closing date 31/03/2021.

Dr Els Vermeulen - Research Manager
Mammal Research Institute Whale Unit
Department of Zoology and Entomology
University of Pretoria, South Africa

Office: Shop 11 Astoria Village, Main Road, Hermanus 7200
Cell: +27 (0)60 9714301


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