Dr James Gilroy, UEA School of Environmental Sciences
Dr Simon Gillings, British Trust for Ornithology
There is a growing body of evidence that spending time in nature has short- and long-term benefits for physical, mental and social well-being. Whilst we use all senses to engage with nature, sound plays a key role in the quality of the experience, with bird song in particular providing the soundtrack to time spent outdoors. Land-use change, agricultural intensification, and urbanisation are changing the abundance and distribution of bird populations and threatening the diversity and richness of our natural soundscapes. Although the importance of conserving natural soundscapes is becoming increasingly recognised, the main drivers of spatial and temporal variation in soundscape characteristics remain unknown, preventing effective targeting of natural soundscape conservation efforts.
This project will employ a novel framework for the large-scale reconstruction and acoustic analysis of natural soundscapes to examine the relationships between landscape structure and land-use, avian community composition and soundscape characteristics. The student will combine long-term UK Breeding Bird Survey and Bird Atlas data with recordings of individual species to reconstruct avian soundscapes for specific habitats, seasons and years. Supported by the targeted deployment of Passive Acoustic Monitoring units, the student will:
Objective 1: Quantify and map the acoustic properties of avian soundscapes across the UK.
Objective 2: Assess seasonal variation and spatial consistency in avian soundscape characteristics.
Objective 3: Determine key drivers of spatial variation in both absolute measures of, and long-term trends in, avian soundscape characteristics.
The successful candidate will receive extensive training in the theoretical and practical aspects of ecoacoustics research, including study design and hypothesis testing, field-based acoustic monitoring, and the analysis of large-scale, long-term datasets. You will gain a wide range of skills in critical thinking, statistical analyses, scientific writing and science communication, and will also be encouraged to develop independent lines of research alongside the core objectives.
We seek an enthusiastic individual with a degree in ecology, environmental sciences or a related subject. Relevant experience in ecoacoustics, avian ecology, and/or spatial modelling will be an advantage. Please contact email@example.com for further details.