MSc position at Carleton University monitoring seabirds using acoustics

Many populations of albatrosses and petrels have declined dramatically, primarily due to bycatch in commercial fisheries or predation at nesting sites by invasive species. Understanding the outcomes of management actions, for example eradication of invasive species or bycatch mitigation, is challenging because most petrels are nocturnal at colonies and nest in burrows or crevices. However, advances in passive acoustic recording could offer the opportunity for cost-effective long-term population monitoring even at remote archipelagos.

We are looking for a MSc student to join a team of scientists at Carleton University for a project in collaboration with the British Antarctic Survey. The student will lead a study funded by the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP), analyzing 8 years of white-chinned petrel audio recordings, and data on local burrow density and occupancy at Bird Island, South Georgia. The project will involve the development of tools to help determine the ability of acoustic monitoring to detect changes in attendance patterns and numbers of nonbreeding and breeding white-chinned petrels. The results will help inform development of methods for measuring recovery and recolonization of petrels after rodent eradications, including on the main island of South Georgia. The position start date is September 2024. The student will be supervised by Dr. Rachel Buxton ( in collaboration with Prof. Richard Phillips.

Further reading

Initial results from the first year of the study published here; Linares et al. 2022. Emu.

Essential Skills and Qualifications: BSc degree in ecology, conservation science, data science, geography, applied statistics, or a related field; strong research, leadership, and communication skills; enthusiasm and kindness; experience managing and analyzing data.

Desirable Skills: GIS/mapping; coding in R; ** ** bird identification; experience of analyzing acoustic recordings

Application details: Applicants should send the following to Rachel Buxton ( and Richard Phillips ( by March 15, 2024: 1) Letter of interest summarizing your experience; 2) Curriculum Vitae; 3) Contact details for three references; and 4) University transcripts (unofficial are fine). Note that existing funding is only sufficient to cover Canadian citizens. Please use the subject line: Seabirds and acoustics application.

About Carleton University: Carleton University is committed to fostering diversity within its community as a source of excellence, cultural enrichment, and social strength. We welcome those who would contribute to the further diversification of our university including, but not limited to: First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples; women; visible minorities; persons with disabilities; and persons of any sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression. Carleton understands that career paths vary. Legitimate career interruptions will in no way prejudice the assessment process and their impact will be taken into careful consideration.

Carleton University is a dynamic and innovative research and teaching institution with a national and international reputation as a leader in collaborative teaching and learning, research and governance. With over 29,000 students, 950 academic faculty, and 2,000 staff and more than 100 programs of study, we encourage creative risk-taking enabling minds to connect, discover and generate transformative knowledge. Carleton University is located in Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, which has a population of almost one million and reflects the country’s bilingual and multicultural character.