Investigating interactions between blacktip reef sharks and their schooling prey

Department of Collective Behavior

Project description
We are offering a Bachelor’s thesis position within a structured research project that aims to study the interactions between black tip reef sharks and fish schools. The project is supported by a collection of drone footage from March 2023, representing a range of daily activity cycles. The student will be working with a research team consisting of postdoctoral researchers and a PhD student.
Thesis focus
The student will be responsible for the following tasks:

  • Estimating shark population numbers and determining their behavioral states (mainly annotations from observations on videos).
  • Measuring physical characteristics of fish schools, such as size/area covered and, if possible, density. 
  • Identifying the presence of multiple predators (e.g. jack fish, cornet fish) in the study area and assessing their interactions with each other and with the fish schools.
  • Optionally assisting in the refinement of tracking technology and improving drone footage analysis.

Research question
The thesis will explore variations in shark activity and school properties, and how these may correlate with daily environmental factors, including time of day, weather, and tidal movements.

Who can apply?
The project is available to BSc students

Candidate requirements
Applicants should have a background in biology, interest in marine ecology, and an aptitude for data analysis. The role requires attention to detail and a systematic approach to research tasks.

Who should I contact?
Angela Albi & Iain Couzin, Department of Collective Behavior
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