The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) has commenced a project focusing on the Cook Strait region of New Zealand to address knowledge gaps relating to ambient noise and marine mammals. The primary aims of the project are to:

1) Understand the occurrence and movement of marine mammals
2) Characterise the marine soundscape

During the project, acoustic data on both marine mammals and the ambient soundscape will be collected. In order to assist the project in achieving its goals, NIWA and the University of Auckland will co-advise a PhD student. The PhD student will assist in analysing the large data sets collected at seven passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) stations. This will involve conducting detailed manual analysis to be combined with results from JASCO’s automated detection algorithms. The primary focus of the project will be the determination of seasonality (presence/absence) and movement of marine mammals based on acoustic data, and correlation of the information with parameters such as soundscapes and oceanographic data. There is some flexibility as to the academic question of the study which the student will develop in collaboration with their supervising team upon commencement. The student will have the opportunity to participate in field work to recover and deploy the acoustic instruments.

The student will be enrolled at the University of Auckland under the supervision of Dr Craig Radford with expertise in the biological role of ambient underwater sound and the role of soundscape ecology in the marine environment. In addition, the PhD student will be co-supervised by Dr Kimberly Goetz at NIWA who has expertise in spatial modelling of marine mammal movement and behaviour. In addition, the student will interact with scientists from JASCO Applied Sciences who will also provide guidance in relation to project design and data analysis.

The prospective candidate must have a Master’s degree or equivalent level of expertise in bio acoustical analysis. High GPA is required for university PhD scholarship. Experience in the fields of marine mammal biology, ecology, acoustics, and statistics is strongly preferred.

The project will start in early 2017 and the position needs to be filled as soon as possible. If you’re interested, please submit a letter of interest and a CV to Dr Kimberly Goetz at

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