Opportunities

Thank you for your interest in the Birdlab! Please see below for current opportunities for PhD/Honours. Please contact Diane (diane.colombelli-negrel@flinders.edu.au) or Sonia (sonia.kleindofer@flinders.edu.au) if you are interested in collaborating or if you are a prospective student.

Project: Superb fairy-wren and climate effects on developmental programming. This project aims to understand how birds can adapt to climate change by examining an how the prenatal environment influences their survival and resilience later in life. This project is part of a long-term monitoring of superb fairy-wrens at Cleland Wildlife Park since 2008 and needs a person keen to do field work.

Project: Post-fire recovery patterns in invertebrates and songbirds on Kangaroo Island, South Australia. The student will add to existing invertebrate trapping data and Superb fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus) foraging group size collected during 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012,2019, 2020. A total of 20,000+ invertebrate samples exist as baseline data, already sorted to Order, as well as 2000+ foraging observations including group size of Superb fairy-wrens. This project needs a person keen to do field work for about two months per year. No prior knowledge needed though experience observing birds is useful as you will note the group composition of foraging birds.  

Project: Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus), facial recognition software and responses to human disturbance. This project will test if the software developed by the BirdLab and Flinders University Video and Image Processing (VIP) group can be used in the field to track individual koala to understand post-fire dispersal and movement patterns. Another aspect of this project also tests how koalas respond to human disturbance. Questions can be further developed with an interested student.

Project: Cape Barren Goose (Cereopsis novaehollandiae) facial recognition software. Collect photos and help to field-test facial recognition software for Cape Barren Geese at Cleland Wildlife Park and Kangaroo Island. This species is important and the facial recognition monitoring system significant because Department for Environment and Water are planning to reintroduce Cape Barren Geese to the Yorke Peninsula. Questions can be further developed with an interested student. Research directions could include, for example, communication in geese or conservation and reintroduction biology.

Project: Greylag Goose (Anser anser) facial recognition software. Collect photos and help to field-test facial recognition software for Greylag Goose in the Grünau valley in Austria. Konrad Lorenz could individually recognise each greylag goose flock member from photos. This project will test if the software developed by the BirdLab and Flinders University Video and Image Processing (VIP) group can be used in the field to track individual geese, and if geese use facial ID information in communication and social interactions.

Project: Seabirds and shorebirds monitoring. Several projects are available investigating factors influencing the behaviours of seabirds and shorebirds in South Australia. One project assesses the
threats to the endangered Australian Fairy Tern in order to implement targeted conservation
strategies, while other projects focus on the impacts of human presence and activities on the foraging behaviours of shorebirds. Questions can be further developed with an interested student.

Project: Little penguins, climate change and human disturbance. This project is part of an ongoing monitoring investigation on population declines in South Australian little penguins. Constant exposure to stressors, such as human disturbance, can result in lower fitness and reduce survival and reproductive success in seabirds. It is therefore important to better understand how individuals can cope with long-term stressful situations. In this project, we aim to assess little penguin personalities and their responses to humans. This project also aims to assess whether Ceramic Nesting Modules provide cooler environments for little penguins during their moult compared to natural and other artificial (often made of plastic) nests. Questions can be further developed with an interested student.