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Please check the official study guide for the most up to date course information

Seabird and marine mammal population assessment techniques

Semester 3

Knowledge of population size is essential for the management of animal populations. Significant biological, ecological and legislative imperatives exist requiring research into long term trends and current abundance and distribution of marine mammal and seabird populations.


This module will introduce learners to the practical and theoretical aspects of visual survey techniques utilised to inform conservation policies and action plans and to support reporting and other legislative requirements, including: 

  • Distance sampling for marine mammal survey
  • Techniques for surveying seabirds at sea
  • Mark recapture techniques for population assessment
  • Species Identification
  • Survey design, analysis and reporting
  • Emergent technologies for population assessment

Final Competencies

1  Describe the theoretical basis for visual survey techniques.

2  Demonstrate an ability to design, critique and refine survey designs for seabirds and marine mammals.

3  Conduct sample visual surveys and utilise appropriate techniques for survey, data storage, analysis and reporting.

4  Review the use of emergent technologies such as UAVs in population assessment.


Additional information regarding teaching techniques

The teaching methods will include lectures, fieldwork and seminars, as well as practical sessions in the computer room. These concepts will be covered in the theoretical component of the course by means of lectures and interactive classes. The practical part of this course will include a series of in-class practical and computer work, fieldwork and interactions with researchers from the Marine and Freshwater Research Centre.


Further course information can be found here: