Developing a protocol for ecological monitoring using photogrammetry - BC-335

Preferred Disciplines: Biology, ecology, marine science or a related field; MSc or PhD
Project length: 4 to 6 months
Desired start date: Summer, 2017
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
No. of Positions: 1
Preferences: UBC, SFU, UVic; other universities acceptable as well
Company: Coastal Ocean Research Institute, Vancouver Aquarium

About Company:

The Coastal Ocean Research Institute aims to produce and communicate scientific knowledge, evidence, and understanding of coastal ecology and the impacts humans are having on natural systems.  One of our core initiatives is to monitor and report on the status of coastal health in British Columbia.   

Project Description:

As part of our intiative to develop an integrated long-term ecological monitoring program for Howe Sound, BC, we are developing a set of indicators and protocols to assess the status and trends in the health of deep water glass sponge reefs.  Our program’s emphasis is on community-based monitoring using cost-effective methods whenever possible. In this project we will design and test citizen science-friendly monitoring protocols using a combination of underwater images and photogrammetry analysis.   

Background and required skills

Research Objectives/Sub-Objectives:

  • Develop protocols for monitoring glass sponge reefs using underwater images in combination with photogrammetry analysis
  • Determine the most appropriate data analyses and data management protocols for assessing changes in reef structure and/or sponge volume over time
  • Determine the most appropriate photogrammetry software for monitoring underwater habitats


  • Conduct background research on photogrammetry software, field techniques and statistical analyses used in other ecological contexts
  • Design protocols for collecting images using underwater photography, videography or remote camera techniques 
  • In collaboration with research divers and community groups, field test underwater photo, video, and remote camera protocols
  • Conduct pilot analyses of photogrammetry data and evaluate statistical considerations
  • Draft a glass sponge reef monitoring plan to include sampling design, protocols, data management, a work plan and budget

Expertise and Skills Needed:

  • Background in biology, ecology, marine science or a related field
  • Familiarity with data processing
  • Strong statistical skills
  • Proficiency in learning and applying new software skills 

For more info or to apply to this applied research position, please

  1. Check your eligibility and find more information about open projects.
  2. Complete this webform. You will be asked to upload your CV. Remember to indicate the title of the project(s) you are interested in and obtain your professor’s approval to proceed!
  3. Interested students need to get the approval from their supervisor and send their CV along with a link to their supervisor’s university webpage by applying through the webform or directly to Allison Brennan, abrennan(a)