Data science behind broad-scale animal movement analyses

Marine megafauna movement data is increasing at a fast pace and new data science methods are needed


The main goal of this project is to develop computer-based algorithms to assist the collation, storage and analyses of marine megafauna movement at global scale. This exciting project will build on an existing global collaboration of marine researchers with expertise in marine animal movement and will focus on providing assistance for data manipulation, database construction, and automation of algorithms for analyses.

This project will be most suitable for a student who has graduate in Computer or Data Science, who has a strong interest in the marine environment and affinity for marine megafauna, such as sharks, whales, turtles and penguins.

As part of this project the successful PhD applicant will:

  • lead the development of an online portal for data collation, curation and visualization working with a large number of researchers from around the world, and for automation of the algorithms for the analyses of animal movement data.

For more background information, see the suggested readings below.

Suggested readings

Research team leader: Dr Ana Sequeira 

My research interests lie in the development of models to assist understanding the marine environment in support of marine spatial planning and conservation. I like to explore the utility of different modelling tools (statistical models, GIS, complex systems approaches) to address specific questions of relevance for the conservation of marine species and their environment. My current focus is on the analysis of movement tracking data of marine vertebrates at global scale and on understanding how they move and what drives their movement.


  • New collaborators are welcome to send an enquiry to the research team leader, a co-supervisor from Computer Science or Data Science would be ideal
  • Volunteers for data checking and manipulation are also welcome


How to apply

Interested in becoming part of this project? Complete the following steps to submit your expression of interest:

Step 1 - Check criteria

General UWA PhD entrance requirements can be found on the Future Students website.

Requirements specific to this project:

  • The candidate will need to have completed a Honours or Masters degree in Computer or Data Science
  • Proficiency in using programming languages (such as C++, C#, Java, Python) and willingness to learn R is essential
  • A keen interest in ecological questions and marine megafauna is desirable
  • Self-leadership skills and the ability to work in a team is a requirement
  • The accepted student will be expected to apply for extramural grants to support their project during their degree
  • The student should be comfortable with long-distance travel and field work over extended periods of time.

Step 2 - Submit enquiry to research team leader

Step 3 - Lodge application

After you have discussed your project with the research team leader, you should be in a position to proceed to the next step of the UWA application process: Lodge an application. Different application procedures apply to domestic and international students.


Domestic students

All domestic students may apply for Research Training Program and University Postgraduate Awards (UPA) scholarships

International students

A range of scholarships are available from international organisations and governments. The full list, organised by country, is available on the Future Students website.

In addition, all international students may apply for International Research Training Program scholarships.

Indigenous students
Indigenous students are encouraged to apply for Indigenous Postgraduate Research Supplementary Scholarships.
Forrest Foundation scholarships
All international and Australian students who wish to study towards the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at The University of Western Australia may apply for Forrest Scholarships.

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