Higher Degree by Research Application Portal

TitleInvestigation into the health, group composition and relative abundance of long-finned pilot whales
SupervisorDr Kate Sprogis
Dr Barbara Cook
CourseDoctor of Philosophy
KeywordsConservation, marine biology, whale
Research areaBiological Sciences
Environmental Sciences
Project description

Long-finned pilot whales are a common species to mass strand in Australia. Investigating potential causes of mass strandings is difficult when scientists do not have baseline data of pilot whales. Therefore, this project aims to investigate the health, group composition and relative abundance of presumably healthy free-ranging pilot whales off Western Australia. Photo-identification and blow sample data will be collected in the field, and analysed in the lab. The project is a collaborative project with supervisors from UWA, the WA Government and Nord University (Norway). The results from this research will provide baseline data for understanding the group composition and relative abundance of pilot whales, and for comparison to biological samples collected during mass strandings.  Students will be based at UWA Albany and are expected to have secured a RTP scholarship (https://www.uwa.edu.au/study/research/research-scholarships).  External supervisors: Dr Courtney Waugh (Nord University), Dr Holly Raudino, Dr Kelly Waples (DBCA).

Opportunity statusOpen
Open date10 Jun 2024
Funding source

Multiple funding sources, see attached project outline.  Students will have to secure RTP stipend scholarship.

Additional documentsPilot whales off Bremer Canyon_project outline for HDR Hub.pdf
SchoolGraduate Research School

Dr Kate Sprogis (Kate.sprogis@uwa.edu.au)

Dr Barbara Cook (Barbara.cook@uwa.edu.au)

Course typeDoctorates

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is a program of independent, supervised research that is assessed solely on the basis of a thesis, sometimes including a creative work component, that is examined externally. The work presented for a PhD must be a substantial and original contribution to scholarship, demonstrating mastery of the subject of interest as well as an advance in that field of knowledge. 

Visit the course webpage for full details of this course including admission requirements, course rules and the relevant CRICOS code/s.

Duration4 years


Investigation into the health, group composition and relative abundance of long-finned pilot whales