A revolution is taking place in wildlife monitoring with state-of-the-art technology, such as HiDef Aerial Surveying Limited’s high resolution digital video camera rig, replacing traditional visual techniques.
As the technology develops, so new partnerships are needed. HiDef, in conjunction with Marine Scotland Science, the University of St. Andrews and the University of Aberdeen are co-funding a three-and-a-half year studentship opportunity to work at the forefront of high-resolution video surveys of marine fauna.
The Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS) PhD Studentship will be located in the Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling (CREEM) at the University of St Andrews. The student may also spend time at the University of Aberdeen and Marine Scotland Science during the PhD.
The PhD will help inform a strategy for assessing the impact of human activities on the distribution of mammals and birds at sea, and identify suitable sites for protection. The primary focus is on methods for surveys using HiDef technology and statistical analysis.
Professor David Borchers, from the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of St. Andrews, who will be supervising the PhD, along with Professor Paul Thompson from the University of Aberdeen, said:
“There has been a revolution in the development of survey technology for wildlife monitoring, but statistical method development has lagged behind the technological advances. Digital aerial surveying is a case in point and HiDef is the industry leader in in this area. The new technology used by HiDef is set to revolutionise aerial surveys of marine mammals but this requires collaborations between academic statisticians and industry to develop appropriate survey and analysis methods.
This PhD is an opportunity to work at the forefront of innovation in the conduct and analysis of high-resolution video surveys of marine mammals and seabirds, developing statistical tools for better assessment of wildlife abundance and distribution from video data.
We are delighted that HiDef is partnering with us for this PhD, which is a unique opportunity to develop the appropriate statistical methods these surveys, while working alongside Marine Scotland Science and industry to understand the biological and policy context of surveys.”
HiDef’s Environment and Statistics Manager, Andy Webb responded:
“HiDef is enthusiastic to be supporting this research and working with eminent scientists such as David Borchers and Paul Thompson. We are always seeking to improve our survey technology and methods, and this PhD project will do just that, while offering someone the opportunity to work at the cutting edge of statistical modelling, image recognition, marine ecology and survey design.”
Details regarding the PhD opportunity can be found at URL: