PhD Stipends in Marine Bioacoustics at CMST - Curtin MAURITIUS


The Centre for Marine Science and Technology at Curtin University has 4 PhD 
stipends on offer in marine bioacoustics.



These stipends are part of a 4-year research project entitled “The Quieter 
Western Indian Ocean” (QWIO), funded by the Fonds Français pour l'Environnement 
Mondial (FFEM). The project is a partnership of the Wildlife Conservation 
Society (WCS), the African Aquatic Conservation Fund, Armateurs de France, 
Bureau Veritas, Centre d’Etude et de Découverte des Tortues, Curtin University, 
The French Biodiversity Agency, Globice, Kelonia, The Marine Megafauna 
Foundation, Quiet Oceans, and The University of St Andrews. The aims of the 
QWIO project are two-fold: 1) to study and assess underwater noise from 
shipping and maritime services and its potential effects on targeted species 
among large cetaceans (baleen whales and sperm whales), sharks, and sea turtles 
in the South-Western Indian Ocean, and 2) in consultation with regional 
governments, ship owners, ports, and relevant international authorities, to 
identify and initiate concrete and practical measures to reduce the risks of 
noise impacts and collisions. 


The 4 PhD theses will comprise (depending on student interest and skills) any 
of the following: underwater ship noise (measurement, modelling, mapping, 
management, minimisation, mitigation), marine soundscapes (characterisation, 
quantification, sources, sound budgets, geographic and temporal variability, 
trends, modelling, prediction), and large whale bioacoustics (species 
diversity, vocal behaviour of humpback whales, blue whales, and/or sperm 
whales, passive acoustic monitoring, sound production, song structure, song 
variability, dialects, spatial and temporal distribution, migration, relative 
abundance, acoustic ecology, risk of ship strike, effects of noise). The 
intention is to fill two of the four PhD stipends with a project focused more 
on physical acoustics and ocean noise/soundscapes, and the other two focused 
more on organismal biology and bioacoustics, looking at the possible impacts of 
noise on species ecology. The composition of the above topics in the theses 
will therefore vary among the students. There will be the need to fulfil 
specific QWIO objectives during the course of the PhD program (as guided by the 
supervisors), but the theses will not necessarily be restricted to those 



Students will be enrolled at Curtin University Australia. However, they will be 
based at Curtin Mauritius (Moka, Mauritius). Opportunities for fieldwork exist 
from Mauritius, to Reunion, Madagascar, and eastern Africa. 



Students will be supervised by Prof Christine Erbe (Centre for Marine Science 
and Technology, Curtin University), Dr Salvatore Cerchio (African Aquatic 
Conservation Fund), Dr Violaine Dulau (Globice), and Tim Collins 
(WCS)—depending on the PhD topics. 



Each stipend includes an international tuition fee scholarship for 3.5 years. 
In addition, we are offering an annual living cost stipend of EUR 9,000, for 
3.5 years (total EUR 31,500).



As a preference of the funder, students would ideally be citizens of one of the 
Nairobi Convention signatory states: Comoros, France, Kenya, Madagascar, 
Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Somalia, Tanzania, or South Africa. However, 
applicants from the broader Indian Ocean will be considered.


Students must obtain a student visa for Mauritius.


Essential Criteria:
Given the focus on underwater acoustics and bioacoustics, and depending on the 
chosen thesis project, students would ideally have a degree (Honours or 
Masters) in Physics, Engineering, Computer Science, Data Science, or a related 
field, or a degree in Biological Sciences with experience in Organismal 
Biology, Bioacoustics, Acoustic Ecology, or a related field. Students with 
experience in both disciplines may be strongly favoured.
Strong command of English is required. Students will have to pass an IELTS 
prior to enrolment, with a minimum grade of 6.5 overall and a minimum of 6 for 
any of its components (i.e., speaking, writing, reading, and listening).
Experience programming in MATLAB or R.

Desirable Criteria:
Prior experience in acoustics is desired but not essential. 
Prior experience in marine science is valuable.
Prior experience in offshore fieldwork is valuable. 

How to apply:

Please email your expression of interest, including CV, summary of research 
skills and experience, reason you are interested in this project, and choice 
(focus) of project (e.g., ship noise, soundscape, whale ecology) to Christine 
Erbe:, subject: QWIO Stipend.



Applications close 31 January 2023. Theses would ideally commence by April 2023.


Christine Erbe, Ph.D.

Director | Centre for Marine Science & Technology (CMST)

John Curtin Distinguished Professor | School of Earth & Planetary Sciences
Curtin University

Perth, Western Australia 6845


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