[MARMAM] Seeking Research Assistants

Guido Parra g.parra at uq.edu.au
Sun Jun 18 18:10:47 PDT 2006



PROJECT: Enhancing the ecological basis for the conservation and management
of Australian snubfin and Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins.


I am seeking three skilled research assistants for the 2006 field season to
assist me in collecting behavioural and genetic data on Australian Snubfin
and Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins off the northeast coast of Queensland,
Australia. The field season for 2006 will last approximately 12 weeks from
mid August thru the end of November. Our fieldwork will be based in the city
of Townsville, northeast Queensland. Because of the training required,
applicants must be willing to commit to the project for a minimum of 4
weeks. Applicants willing to participate the whole 12 weeks will be given


BACK GROUND: Knowledge about the ecology and anthropogenic threats to
Australia's coastal dolphins is scant, particularly for rare tropical
species such as the snubfin (Orcaella heinsohni) and the Indo-Pacific
humpback (Sousa chinensis) dolphins. Recent research carried out by GJP in
Cleveland Bay, northeast Queensland, indicates that Australian snubfin and
humpback dolphins occur in small, localised populations close to coastal and
estuarine environments. This information suggests that populations of both
species are vulnerable to anthropogenic mortality and potentially rapid
population declines. This study aims to improve the basis for the
conservation and management of snubfin and humpback dolphins by: 1)
developing spatial models of habitat suitability, 2) identifying areas of
potential conflict with anthropogenic activities, and 3) assessing the level
of genetic structure among populations of snubfin and humpback dolphins in
Queensland waters.


FIELD WORK: All observations and data collection will be conducted from a 5m
rigid inflatable or aluminium boat. In addition we will be conducting one
long-range survey (up to 20 days in length) onboard a 10m powerboat with a
flybridge. Assistants should be prepared to work long hours (06:00 to 16:00
hours depending on weather conditions).and be expected to participate in the
following duties: photo-identification, video, behavioural, distance
sampling and biopsy data collection, fin matching, and database maintenance.
Aboard the research boat assistants will be required to assist in boat
piloting and handling, and participate in all regular duties related to the
maintenance of the boat and research equipment. Field work is demanding but
you will have a great opportunity to observe two of Australia's rarest
coastal dolphins and also gain hands-on experience in relation to survey
techniques, behavioural observations, and genetic sampling of marine
mammals. Such experience will prove valuable to anyone hoping to pursue a
career in marine wildlife ecology, behaviour, and management.


1.	Be enthusiastic, hard-working, team oriented, have a positive
attitude and a genuine interest in marine mammal ecology and behaviour. 
2.	Be adaptable, flexible and patient as fieldwork is highly weather
dependent This means:1) sometimes we will be stuck onshore for long periods
of time, 2) sometimes we will have long consecutive fieldwork days, and 3)
fieldwork during weekend days may be required.
3.	Be prepared to rise early in the morning and work long hours in a
small boat. 
4.	Be able to commit for a minimum of 4 weeks (though applicants
willing to commit for the whole 12 week period will be preferred) 
5.	Have a background in biology, marine science, animal behaviour or a
related field 
6.	Previous field experience and boat handling skills would be
advantageous but is not a prerequisite. 

Unfortunately I am unable to provide salary or housing and research
assistants will be responsible for travel to Townsville and their own living
expenses. Food and living space will be provided during long-range surveys
and fieldtrips outside of the Townsville area. If you are interested, please
provide a short CV with references and a letter explaining your interest in
the project and career goals to Guido J. Parra (g.parra at uq.edu.au).




Guido J. Parra, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

School of Veterinary Science
University of Queensland
St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia

Ph: (07) 3365-3066  Mob: 0437630843
Fax: (07) 3365-1255  Email:  <mailto:g.parra at uq.edu.au> g.parra at uq.edu.au

Webpage:  <http://www.uq.edu.au/vetschool/index.html?page=47564&pid=47559>



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