Study level


Master of Philosophy


Vacation research experience scheme


Science and Engineering Faculty

School of Mathematical Sciences

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr Kate Helmstedt
Research Fellow (DECRA)
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty


The biodiversity of Antarctica is threatened by a changing climate, increase in tourist numbers and invasive species. Governments around the world want to conserve this continent's unique species and ecosystems, but careful planning is needed before undertaking expensive and difficult management actions.

Data is only valuable when planning environmental management if it leads to improved outcomes. As new monitoring technologies and approaches are developed, it's critical that they're used to focus on the most important information gaps. Data should be rapidly gathered in locations where early information could offer warning signals of future ecosystem change. Mathematical and statistical approaches to assessing the value of new information must be developed and be ready to implement when new data streams become available.

Research activities

As part of this research project you'll develop integrated methods to analyse value-of-information, essential variable theory, and returns-on-investment. This will enable the design and development of efficient monitoring technologies and systems to form part of a 'data to decisions' pipeline.

You'll draw from their mathematical skillset, as well as skills and knowledge developed over the course of the project. You'll be supported and mentored as part of the dynamic and diverse Applied Mathematical Ecology Group.


This project can potentially lead to academic publications in addition to report or thesis requirements appropriate for your study level.

Collaboration with external partners will be necessary, and those collaborative relationships will be an explicit outcome of the project.

Skills and experience

Candidates must have, or be undertaking, a degree in:

  • mathematics
  • statistics
  • IT
  • engineering
  • science, with some quantitative elements
  • any related degree with sufficient quantitative components.

You're also required to have:

  • an interest in mathematics
  • excellent written and oral communication skills
  • the desire to talk to people (and not just mathematicians) about your work.

While not required, it's desirable if you have programming skills in any language and an interest in ecology or the environment. You don't need to know much about species or ecosystems, but you must be keen to learn.

Please contact the supervisor to discuss whether your experience is sufficient for this project.

We particularly welcome applications for groups that are underrepresented in STEM, including:

  • women
  • students who identify as Indigenous Australians
  • students who identify as people of colour.


You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.

Annual scholarship round



Contact the supervisor for more information.