Doctor of Philosophy candidate
For his PhD, Subhash Chand aims to use a novel remotely piloted aircraft system with multi-sensors to supplement spatial and temporal data collection in a temperate estuary in Auckland, New Zealand.
His study – which is being supervised by Associate Professor Barbara Bollard – is focused on two benthic marine habitats; seagrass meadows and oyster reefs. These habitats can be permanent in an area over time but are highly dynamic, expanding into new locations and declining rapidly in other places in a short timeframe.
“In New Zealand, few studies have quantified spatio-temporal changes in the spatial extent, the health status of these habitats and drivers of change between years. There are also not many studies that have evaluated the connection between factors like environmental and anthropogenic activities, which are the drivers of change in these critical habitats.”
Subhash has already had a number of opportunities to share his work with other researchers, and enjoyed the opportunity to attend the United Nations Workshop on the Application of Global Navigation Satellite Systems and the Student Conference on Conservation Science at the University of Queensland.
He has also been involved in peer-reviewed articles that were published in Science Direct and the Aeronautics and Aerospace Open Access Journal, with an article in the Journal of Global Ecology & Conservation expected to be published later this year.
Finding his path
Subhash pursued his undergraduate degree at Fiji National University in Fiji. During this time, AUT was partnering with FNU, and lecturers from AUT came to Fiji to teach freshwater ecology, marine ecology and geographic information systems (GIS). For Subhash, this experience would ignite his interest in GIS.
“After my bachelor's degree in environmental science, I was motivated to use GIS and remote sensing for conservation and planning. For my master's degree, I used remotely sensed imagery from aerial and satellite imagery and digital shoreline analysis software to detect coastline change for conservation and planning.”
But this wouldn’t be Subhash’s only opportunity to work with GIS.
“By the end of my master’s degree in 2016, drone technology for marine applications was getting popular, and here I am at AUT using drone technology for my PhD research on conservation and planning.”
An enjoyable postgraduate journey
He would recommend doctoral study at AUT's School of Science to other students, says Subhash, whose studies are supported by AUT's Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Scholarship.
"I would certainly recommend this programme to others. AUT has professional yet compassionate academic staff who take care of you and guide you throughout your postgraduate journey. In addition, I enjoyed having access to world-class supervisors at AUT.
"Throughout my studies, I had great experiences with new friends of diverse cultures and got to travel across New Zealand.”
Expecting to complete his PhD later this year, Subhash already has a good idea what his next step will be.
“As a climate reality leader, my next chapter would be to apply the knowledge and skills I’ve acquired over the years for conservation and planning for a sustainable future of our blue planet.”