Student projects

For the one-year MSc, students undertake an individual research project which constitutes one third of the overall degree. Project planning and development take place concurrently with the two-semester taught components. Students then work full time on their projects during the summer months, and submit a written dissertation by mid-August. Projects may involve some field or laboratory work, but given the tight time frame most MSc projects will be primarily focused on the analysis of existing data.

Suitably qualified students might be able to undertake a longer, full-time one year research project which in combination with the successful completion of the taught component could lead to the award of the MPhil.

Projects will be supervised by Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) staff but may be carried out in another location, possibly with joint supervision from staff in other institutions. There is potential for students who have their own data, to work on these, provided that the details of such a project are agreed with their St Andrews supervisor in advance. 

Publications resulting from Marine Mammal Science Master’s projects (student author in bold):

Foskolos, I., N. Aguilar de Soto, P. T. Madsen, and M. Johnson. 2019. Deep-diving pilot whales make cheap, but powerful, echolocation clicks with 50 µL of air. Scientific Reports 9:15720.

Heinrich, S., T. Genov, M. Fuentes Riquelme, and P. S. Hammond. 2019. Fine-scale habitat partitioning of Chilean and Peale’s dolphins and their overlap with aquaculture. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 29:212-226.

de Maio, L. M., P. F. Cook, C. Reichmuth, and F. Gulland. 2018. The Evaluation of Olfaction in Stranded California Sea Lions (Zalophus californianus) and Its Relevance to Domoic Acid Toxicosis. Aquatic Mammals 44: 231-238.

Langley, I., M. Fedak, K. Nicholls, and L. Boehme. 2018. Sex-related differences in the postmolt distribution of Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddellii) in the southern Weddell Sea. Marine Mammal Science 34(2): 403-419.

Kershaw, J. L., Sherrill, M., Davison, N. J., Brownlow, A. &, Hal, A.J. 2017. Evaluating morphometric and metabolic markers of body condition in a small cetacean, the harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena). Ecology and Evolution. 2017: 1–13.

Boehme, L., Baker, A., Fedak, M., Årthun, M., Nicholls, K., Robinson, P., Costa, D., Biuw, M. & Photopoulou, T. 2016. Bimodal winter haul-out patterns of adult Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddellii) in the southern Weddell Sea. PLoS One 11(5). e0155817.

Jones, E.L., Rendell, L.E., Pirotta, E. & Long, J.A. 2016. Novel application of a quantitative spatial comparison tool to species distribution data. Ecological Indicators 70: 67-76.

Roos, M. M. H., G.-M. Wu, and P. J. O. Miller. 2016. The significance of respiration timing in the energetics estimates of free-ranging killer whales (Orcinus orca). The Journal of Experimental Biology 219:2066-2077.

Víkingsson, G. A., D. G. Pike, A. Schleimer, H. Valdimarsson, T. Gunnlaugsson, T. Silva, B. Þ. Elvarsson, B. Mikkelsen, N. Öien, G. Desportes, V. Bogason and P. Hammond. 2015. Distribution, abundance and feeding ecology of baleen whales in Icelandic waters: have recent environmental changes had an effect? Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 3.

Allen, J., M. Weinrich, W. Hoppitt, and L. Rendell. 2013. Network-Based Diffusion Analysis Reveals Cultural Transmission of Lobtail Feeding in Humpback Whales. Science 340:485-488.

Janik, V , King, SL, Sayigh, LS & Wells, RS. 2013. Identifying Signature Whistles from Recordings of Groups of Unrestrained Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). Marine Mammal Science 29(1):109-122

Jensen FH, Rocco A, Mansur RM, Smith BD, Janik VM, Madsen PT. 2013. Clicking in shallow rivers: Short-range echolocation of Irrawaddy and Ganges river dolphins in a shallow, acoustically complex habitat. Plos One 8: e59284

Isojunno, S , Matthiopoulos, J & Evans, P. 2012. Harbour porpoise habitat preferences: Robust spatiotemporal predictions from opportunistic data. Marine Ecology Progress Series 448: 55-170.

Salgado Kent, C, Jenner, C, Jenner, M, Bouchet, P, Rexstad, E. 2012. Southern Hemisphere Breeding Stock ‘D’ Humpback Whale Population Estimates from North West Cape, Western Australia. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management, 12(1): 29-38 [open access]

Murphy, SN , Spradlin, TR, Mackey, B, McVee, J, Androukaki, J, Tounta, E, Karamanlidis, A, Dendrinos, P, Joseph, E, Lockyear, C & Matthiopoulos, J. 2012. Age estimation, growth and age-related mortality of Mediterranean monk seals (Monachus monachus). Endangered Species Research 16(2): 149-163.

Pirotta, E., Matthiopoulos, J., MacKenzie, M., Scott-Hayward, L. & Rendell, L. 2011. Modelling sperm whale habitat preference: A novel approach combining transect and follow data. Marine Ecology Progress Series 436: 257-272.

Deecke, VB , Nykänen, M, Foote, A & Janik, V. 2011. Vocal behaviour and feeding ecology of killer whales Orcinus orca around Shetland, UK. Aquatic Biology 13:79-88.

Faustino, C. E. S., M. A. Silva, T. A. Marques, and L. Thomas. 2010. Designing a shipboard line transect survey to estimate cetacean abundance off the Azores archipelago. Arquipelago. Life and Marine Sciences 27:49-58.