PhD Opportunity at Otago University – Adélie penguin population ecology in the Ross Sea

Adelie penguins are considered an indicator species of ecosystem function.
The Ross Sea was recently designated a Marine Protected Area (MPA), which will limit fishing in the area significantly. However, this protection status will be reviewed periodically and could be modified or withdrawn.
The research aims to understand population dynamics so that we can forecast outcomes of a range of different management and climate change scenarios, which should contribute to the decision making on the future of the MPA.
Statistical and simulation modelling will be used to explore a subset of the following interdependent processes: foraging movement of breeding adults, chick provisioning and growth, fledgling success, over-winter movements, survivorship and population dynamics.
The student will have access to existing data and will participate in at least one field season in the Ross Sea (i.e. 10 weeks at Cape Bird or Cape Adare) to collect new data. Throughout the project, the student will collaborate with a
range of scientists with expertise in ecology and statistics.
The successful candidate will enrol in a Ph.D. at the University of Otago under the direct supervision of Dr. Matthew Schofield in the Department of Mathmatics and Statistics.
The student will be co-supervised by Professor Phil Seddon in the Department of Zoology, and Dr. Dean Anderson of Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research.
Applicants should have a strong background in
both ecology and statistics, and satisfy the University of Otago’s entry requirements for PhD study.
A knowledge of Bayesian data analysis is an advantage. The student should have an understanding of statistical modelling and computation.
This position is contigent on the successful obtainment of a University of Otago Doctoral or equivalent scholarship (
The scholarship covers Ph.D. tuition fees for a domestic or international student plus a living
allowance of NZ$25,000 per annum for three years. The starting date will be 1 February 2019.
For further information and to apply, please contact:
Dr. Matthew Schofield
Department of Mathmatics and Statistics
University of Otago