Postgraduate research opportunities available now


The ideal student will be motivated to conduct research in one or more of the fields of: oceanography, remote sensing, marine ecology, ecological modelling, marine conservation , marine biogeochemistry and ecotourism. Interested candidates should read the project descriptions below and contact the relevant staff member in the first instance.

Successful PhD applicants have the opportunity to receive a scholarship. Further details on Griffith University’s application process can be found here. Please also read the guidelines below before contacting Whales & Climate staff.

If you’re not sure who to contact or have general questions, please email [email protected]

The email addresses for the staff can be found here.


  • Humpback whale movements in a changing climate
    Distribution and behaviour of humpback whales is recognized as being influenced by climate change. This project aims to understand the relationships between humpback whales and their environment and predict the effects of climate change scenarios. In particular, this study involves analysis of contemporary humpback whale data and the application of climate model outputs to models of humpback whale behaviour (e.g. feeding, migration, breeding). Suitable for PhD. Contact:
  • Dr. Olaf Meynecke
  • Dr. Jasper de Bie
  • Potential effects of EAC variability on coastal waters
    The candidate will analyse remotely sensed data in concert with field observations and numerical modelling experiments, to investigate the behaviour of the East Australian Ocean Current (EAC). The EAC transports warm waters from the tropics southward to mid-latitudes. We wish to better understand the role of the EAC in determining water temperature, salinity, and currents in coastal waters, used by humpback whales during migration and breeding seasons. Experience working with remotely sensed data, programming languages (e.g. matlab, python, fortran) is desirable. The ability to work with netcdf files is advantageous, as is experience using or setting up numerical models (e.g. fvcom, ADCIRC, Mike21, Delft 3D, EFDC). Suitable for Master or PhD. Contact:
  • Dr. Olaf Meynecke
  • Dr. Jasper de Bie
  • Adaptation of the whale watch industry to climate change
    The research will look at adaptations of the whale watch industry to changing whale distributions and abundance, drawing from two primary species for Australian waters. This study involves some modelling, social and economic science, with a focus on sustainable tourism. Suitable for a PhD. Contact:
  • Dr. Olaf Meynecke
  • Dr. Russell Richards
  • Dr. Sarah Gardiner
  • The economic value of the whale watch industry in Australia
    Whale Watching is a major industry that is generating millions of dollars worldwide. This study aims to provide analyses of the economic value of whale watch and swim with whales. Students with a background in economics are preferred. Suitable for Master or PhD. Contact:
  • Dr. Olaf Meynecke
  • Dr. Sarah Gardiner
  • Impact of vessel traffic on humpback whales in the Gold Coast
    This study investigates the impacts of boating on humpback whales. Interaction with boats may cause distress and also cause physical harm due to propeller strikes. This study aims to assess the extent of impacts associated with boat and whale interactions using past survey data and additional fieldwork. Suitable for Honours or Masters. Contact:
  • Dr. Olaf Meynecke
  • Dr. Serena B Lee


Australian students

Australian citizens and permanent residents should have been awarded a 1st Class Honours degree or equivalent (e.g. Masters by research) in a relevant field. Ideally, they will also have published a lead-authored paper in an internationally recognized peer-reviewed journal.

International students

International applicants must have been awarded a 1st Class Honours degree or equivalent (e.g. Masters by research) in a relevant field. They must be lead author on at least one publication in an internationally recognized peer-reviewed journal. To be considered, journals should be internationally recognized, for instance, they should have an Impact Factor rating from ISI.


Want to contribute to the Whales & Climate Research program and our partners? 

You can become a volunteer or intern with our partner organisations: Humpbacks & High-rises (www.hhr.org.au), Living Ocean (www.livingocean.org.au), Oceania Project (www.oceania.org.au) and participate in their research or undertake an internship at our research group.

Project collaborators & Supporters

Become a research collaborator or supporter in our program. If you would like to contribute data, work with us on parts of the research program or help to further advance the program into new areas, please contact us. A number of organisations have joined to advance knowledge and understanding of whales and climate.

Project Partner Advantages

  • Collaborative Opportunities
  • Access to resources & network
  • Joint publications & promotion

Project Collaborators

Project Supporters