PhD opportunity: Movement and migration of Latham's Snipe


Australian National University



PhD project: Movement and migration of Latham's Snipe

  • Do you have a strong interest in migratory shorebird conservation?
  • Would you like to obtain skills in bird capture and tracking studies?

We are seeking a dedicated, passionate and high-quality PhD applicant to work with a team of ecologists and citizen scientists running a national research and monitoring program on Latham’s Snipe.

This PhD project will address the following questions:

  • To what extent do individual snipe move between different wetlands within Canberra during the non-breeding season?
  • What are the key migration stopover sites between ACT and Japan?
  • What are the key characteristics of non-breeding and stopover habitat?
  • Where are important night time foraging sites for snipe?
  • What is the relative abundance and distribution of snipe in urban versus alpine habitats with the ACT
  • Where are the priority areas for snipe habitat protection in the ACT and eastern Australia?

This project will use GPS tracking to determine migration pathways and key stopover (staging) sites in eastern Australia for snipe that spend the non-breeding season in Canberra. Finer-scale tracking will also be used to determine habitat use of snipe in Canberra during the non-breeding period (October to February). Information obtained through the tracking will be used to determine important non-breeding and migration staging sites, the key characteristics of habitat at these sites, and how individual birds respond to changes in land use and other disturbance.

In addition to understanding movement patterns by snipe within Canberra, this project will also make an assessment of the relative abundance and distribution of snipe in urban ACT compared to alpine areas. Latham’s Snipe are known to make use of highland and alpine areas, and records from the ACT and NSW alpine areas suggests that snipe present in low densities throughout summer. However, very little is known about alpine populations and the way in which snipe use alpine habitats.

The successful candidate will obtain skills in animal tracking technologies, desktop and web GIS, spatial and statistical analyses, conservation prioritisation and multi-stakeholder engagement (government, community and industry). 

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