PhD Exit Seminar: Kobe Martin and Ricardo Alvarez P.

Event type: 
12 December 2018
12pm - 1pm

Pioneer Theatre, AGSM

Kobe Martin and Ricardo Alvarez P.
E&ERC PhD Candidates
Supervisor: Tracey Rogers

From our own backyard, to the world, and back again. How macrocomparisons can shape future research on acoustic communication in mammals and vice versa. - Kobe Martin

Australia is home to a large diversity of mammals, and yet there is still so much that is unknown about their biology, particularly their vocal communication systems. But when you’re setting out on the journey to describe a behaviour that relatively little is known about, where do you start? Macrocomparative studies allow biologists to identify patterns across a large group of species, and ultimately predict traits for new species based on those patterns. And how are you able to achieve these macrocomparative studies? With data from many species. The more species we have data for, the more informative macrocomparisons can be produced, to assist in directing the search for and description of vocal abilities of new species, in a constant feedback loop. Allow me to take you on a journey to discover what drives the vocal communication systems of the cute-and-furries (and not so cute, or furry) and how macrocomparisons became a guiding light in my search in the dark to describe the vocal repertoire of one of Australia’s mysterious mammals.

Spatial Ecology of Marine Top Predators and Implications for Marine Species Conservation - Ricardo Alvarez P.

Marine top predators are considered a charismatic group with important conservation problems due to human- induced pressures and global warming. These species are highly sensitive to changes in environmental conditions; which makes them ideal indicators of the health of marine ecosystems. Unfortunately, for many of these species, information is lacking regarding their spatial ecology. In this thesis, I investigated how the relationship between species distribution and environmental variables can help to understand the species’ niche and their potential applications. I used an ecological niche modelling (ENM) approach to investigate the spatial distribution of cetaceans and seabirds. First, I assessed the drivers of distribution and niche dimension of five South American in-shore dolphins, in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, and then seabirds in the southeast coast of Australia. I then predicted the areas of importance for seabird conservation in the waters of the eastern Pacific. Finally, I examined changes in the ecological niche for six whale species in the South Pacific under future climate scenarios.