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Modelling and managing uncertain Antarctic species networks

Antarctic ecosystems are complex, and data is limited since it is expensive to collect. Species including penguins, seabirds, invertebrates, mosses, and marine species interact in food webs which can be modelled as mathematical networks. These networks can be large, span across terrestrial and marine systems, and are changing in response to environmental changes.These ecological networks can be modelled using differential equation predator prey models like Lotka-Volterra to describe these interactions. However, the relationships between species are not always known, or …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy
Faculty
Faculty of Science
School
School of Mathematical Sciences
Research centre(s)
Centre for Data Science
Centre for the Environment

Mathematical modelling of ecosystem tipping points in Antarctica

Slight variations in the seasonal timing of Antarctic ice melt can drastically shift the composition of local shallow-water ecosystems from being dominated by invertebrates to algae instead. Such "tipping point" events may become commonplace in the future due to climate change, not just in Antarctica but in many ecosystems worldwide.This project seeks to develop mathematical models of the interactions between Antarctic environmental conditions and the local shallow-water ecosystem states. These models could then be used to make predictions about the …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Faculty of Science
School
School of Mathematical Sciences
Research centre(s)
Centre for Data Science
Centre for the Environment

Modelling and managing uncertain Antarctic species networks

Antarctic ecosystems are complex, and data is limited since it is expensive to collect. Species interact in food webs which can be modelled as mathematical networks. The relationships between species are not always known, or we might know they interact but not how strongly. Noisy (or imperfect) data can be used to model these species interactions to give more certainty about how the ecosystem works as a whole – although the worse the data is, the less information it contributes. …

Study level
Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Faculty of Science
School
School of Mathematical Sciences
Research centre(s)
Centre for Data Science
Centre for the Environment

Mathematically optimising value of information for biodiversity management

When planning environmental management, data are only valuable if they lead to improved outcomes. As new monitoring technologies and approaches are developed, it is critical that they are used optimally to focus on the most important information gaps.Monitoring technologies should only be adopted if they can deliver improved management utility, and new 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 …

Study level
Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Faculty of Science
School
School of Mathematical Sciences
Research centre(s)
Centre for Data Science
Centre for the Environment

Statistical methods for detecting Antarctic ecosystems from space

Satellite images are a frequent and free source of global data which can be used to effectively monitor the environment. We can see how the land is being used, how it’s being changed, what’s there – even where animals are in the landscape. Using these images is essential, particularly for regions where data is expensive to collect or difficult to physically access, like Antarctica. In Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic islands, satellite images can be an easy and quick way to …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Science
School
School of Mathematical Sciences
Research centre(s)
Centre for Data Science
Centre for the Environment

Using catastrophe theory to prepare for global warming in Antarctica

According to dynamical systems theory, crises occur because couplings within a system (geophysical, ecological and social) create instabilities. Nonlinear feedbacks means that relatively small changes in circumstances can cause a rapid change to the system state. For example, a small increase in tourism visitors could lead to the invasion of a new species. Or, a gradual change in the average global temperature could lead to the collapse of Antarctic ice-shelves.In the coming decade, the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic are likely to …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Science
School
School of Mathematical Sciences
Research centre(s)

Centre for the Environment

Ecological interactions in Antarctic ecosystems

Antarctic and sub-Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems are dominated by mosses, lichens, invertebrates and some vascular plants. Marine vertebrates (penguins, seals, seabirds) also play an important role in driving terrestrial processes. All these species are influenced by many environmental and biotic factors, including interactions between species. Determining the impacts of climatic and environmental change on Antarctic and sub-Antarctic biodiversity requires greater understanding of these interactions.Ecological data on species interactions and the drivers of these interactions are an essential part of Antarctic and …

Study level
PhD
Faculty
Faculty of Science
School
School of Biology and Environmental Science
Research centre(s)
Centre for Data Science
Centre for the Environment

Understanding international governance in Antarctica through cooperative game theory

Antarctica is governed by a coalition of 29 countries ('consultative parties') who must agree unanimously before a law can be passed. This project will apply theories from social network analysis and cooperative game theory to map relationships between the different parties, and to predict their behaviour on a series of important environmental issues.

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Science
School
School of Mathematical Sciences
Research centre(s)

Centre for the Environment

Optimal conservation management in uncertain Antarctic environments

Species and ecosystems in Antarctica are threatened. Optimal biodiversity conservation is an interdisciplinary field combining mathematical modelling and optimisation with ecology and conservation. We can use mathematics to understand the system, model how management actions might impact it, and then optimise which actions should be used. For example, we can explore where protected areas should be placed, how species should be managed, or how tourist impacts should be reduced. However, the complexities of conservation in Antarctica necessitate the application of …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
Faculty of Science
School
School of Mathematical Sciences
Research centre(s)
Centre for Data Science
Centre for the Environment

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