University of St Andrews seeks tidal monitoring expertise

Illustration (Photo: University of St Andrews)
Illustration (Photo: University of St Andrews)

Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) at the University of St Andrews is looking for a research assistant to support the work related to monitoring the behaviour of marine mammals in the vicinity of tidal turbines.

The project, led by Drs. Gordon Hastie and Doug Gillespie at SMRU, is funded by the Scottish Government as part of a Marine Mammal Scientific Support grant to SMRU with specific emphasis on the potential effects of tidal stream energy devices on marine mammals.

The appointed research assistant will play a key role in the project and will be responsible for monitoring the operational status of the sensor systems, data download and archiving, and preliminary data cleansing, analysis, and reporting.

Concerns about the impacts of tidal energy on marine mammals derive primarily from the potential for injury or mortality as a result of direct interactions between animals and moving rotors of tidal devices.

However, the true risks posed by turbines remain uncertain due to the scarcity of information on how marine mammals behave in close proximity to operating tidal turbines, according to the University of St Andrews.

The project aims to address the data gap by monitoring the behaviour of marine mammals in the vicinity of an operational tidal turbine. It will use a suite of sensor systems, including active and passive acoustics, and underwater video technology, to detect, classify, and track marine mammals around an operational tidal turbine.

The closing date for applications is set for October 26, 2016.

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