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Understanding the impacts of biodiversity-focused interventions to agri-food systems on people and nature

Despite efforts to monitor and manage declining species and ecosystems around the world, biodiversity is still not routinely included in mainstream decision-making and continues to decline at the highest rate in human history. Added to this is the problem that both natural and agri-food systems are continually changing due to human and natural disturbances, with climate change likely to increase the impacts of extreme events like drought, fire and economic shocks. Because of large uncertainties and trade-offs between many human …

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

Legal Approaches to Conservation Conflicts and Land-Use Conflicts

Conservation and land-use conflicts arise when people have different needs and interests concerning a protected area or land space. The management of these types of conflicts often has to broach disciplinary divides to ensure that appropriate consideration is given to the many complex and diverse issues that surround them, such as social justice, food production, biodiversity, the history of a place, and the attitudes and values of local stakeholders. The Law School invites students to express an interest in research …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy
Faculty
Faculty of Business and Law
School
School of Law

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

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

Conservation is a noisy business: modelling the effects of stochasticity on wildlife management decisions

To conserve species in disturbed natural environments, we need to use mathematical models to predict the consequences of different interventions. Unfortunately, these models are based on partial information of complex systems, and the systems themselves are subject to substantial observational and process noise.We often use ordinary differential equations to describe ecosystems, like the classic logistic growth model:dn/dt = r n (1 - n / k)However, these models are deterministic, and they assume we know the values of the key parameters …

Study level
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

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

Optimal ecosystem management in rapidly changing systems

Delays in acting in collapsing ecosystems can be catastrophic. With every passing year, the chances that the ecosystem has progressed past some point of no return increases. Yet the research and development needed to develop a new technology can take a long time. Balance between these two dynamic processes is needed to determine the optimal length and effort for developing new technologies. This project will develop a method for finding the optimal schedule for developing technological readiness, social acceptability, a …

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

AI for wildlife conservation

Automated detection of animals using machine learning (AI) from drones and camera traps is creating powerful new opportunities for ecological research. Working as part of a team you will learn how to enable and use automated ID in imagery, use these tools to answer questions around wildlife abundance and interactions and help to shape new research directions. We work with a diverse range of species and you may have the opportunity to work on koalas, kangaroos and other macropods, lions, …

Study level
Master of Philosophy, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Faculty of Science
School
School of Biology and Environmental Science
Research centre(s)

Centre for the Environment

Designing smart visual technologies with people with intellectual disability

This research is part of a Future Fellowship project funded by the Australian Research Council. You will join a team of researchers and research students in the school of computer science, with expertise in the disciplines of human computer interactions and data science.In broad terms, the project is seeking to understand how the meaning of images can be computed and used in the design of intelligent interfaces which can be used by and support people with intellectual disability.The visual interactions …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Faculty of Science
School
School of Computer Science

Conversational agents that can see

The development of conversational agents, whether as smart home devices, or embedded in mobile devices or social robots, has started in the world of chatbots, with only text available, and then started to build audio features, and finally considering context through sensors and cloud knowledge, as well as offering images in response to a query.However, little attention has been paid to other conversational modalities, such as showing, pointing, or gesturing. The reliance on these is exacerbated in conversation with people …

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Honours
Faculty
1096721
School
1088585

Vegetation modelling for wildlife conservation and bushfire monitoring

Modelling vegetation using video captured from drones is a valuable component of conservation. Working as part of a team you will use existing imagery to create detailed vegetation models for ecological analysis. You will then use these models to address important questions around the impacts of bushfires and interactions between vegetation and wildlife.

Study level
PhD, Master of Philosophy, Vacation research experience scheme
Faculty
Faculty of Science
School
School of Biology and Environmental Science
Research centre(s)

Centre for the Environment

Considering economics when prioritising species conservation

There are limited funds available for saving threatened species globally. Investing that money wisely can help ecologists and the government achieve more bang for their buck, and help more species and ecosystems.We can use many approaches  to help guide those investment decisions, including mathematical optimisation and operations research. However better considerations of economic factors are needed in order to reflect the complexity of real ecosystems and governments.

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

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