Modelling local population dynamics for whale sharks in the Maldives

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University of St Andrews
Start - End
12 Sep
Study Options
Full Time

About the Project

Data for this project will be provided by the Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme. The broad aim is to further the understanding of the local population dynamics of this enigmatic species.

Potential areas for investigation include:

• Robust stopover models for long-term mark-recapture data. The extension of these models to include biologically realistic behaviour (temporary migration, heterogeneous captures, individual covariates, environmental covariates). Robust estimation of recruitment probabilities and stopover duration on different temporal scales.

• Daily estimation of abundance and/or animal density. Modelling seasonal variation caused by, for example, lunar cycles, monsoon season, time-varying environmental conditions.

• Modelling animal movement and identifying habitual behaviour patterns. Investigating differences in behaviour for sharks of different ages or regions.

• The integration of different sampling methods including emerging technologies (drone surveys, sonar, eDNA). The inclusion of citizen science data.

• The potential extension of existing mark-recapture methods to a continuous-time framework.

For more information, please see the School's Postgraduate Research page, and in particular the information about Statistics PhD opportunities.

Funding Notes

Full funding (fees, plus stipend of approx. £15,840) is available for well-qualified students; we encourage applications as soon as possible to maximize your chances of being funded. UK, EU and other overseas students are all encouraged to apply. New PhD students would typically start in September 2022, but this is flexible. More information is available School's Postgraduate Research web page -- please see the link at the bottom of the project description.

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