[MARMAM] Three Ph.D. projects available in an ecosystem approach to a study of dolphin ecology, prey, genetics and human impacts in Western Australia

Lars Bejder L.Bejder at murdoch.edu.au
Thu Sep 7 18:29:56 PDT 2006


Dear Marmam Readers,
 
Murdoch University, in collaboration with the University of New South Wales and University of Zurich/Switzerland, is about to commence a large dolphin research program, initially focussing on bottlenose dolphins off Bunbury, south-western Australia, about 160 km south of Perth. This is the first stage of a long-term commitment to research in the region by Murdoch University to preserve the balance between conservation of marine environments and sustainability of local dolphin tourism and industrial-port activities.
 
The overall aim of this first step is to assess the long-term viability of the bottlenose dolphin Tursiops sp. population around Bunbury by building an understanding of their ecology, biology, gene flow with other geographic areas and interactions with the environment, food resources and human activities. This research will commence with five synergistic projects, each associated with a Ph.D., and supervised by leading researchers in their fields. 
 
The aim of Project 1 (supervised by Dr Lars Bejder and Prof. Stuart Bradley) is to gain an understanding of the abundance, ecology, biology and natural history of the local dolphin population in the waters around Bunbury. Results from Project 1 will provide fundamental information to all other projects. The aim of Project 2 (Drs Peter Spencer, Michael Kruetzen and Assoc. Prof. Bill Sherwin) is to estimate the genetic connectedness between various populations of Tursiops along the south-western WA coast from Albany to north of metropolitan Perth, with an emphasis on dolphins inhabiting the Bunbury area. Project 3 (Prof. Neil Loneragan and Dr Lars Bejder) examines the dynamics of dolphin prey species in relation to dolphin distribution and abundance and the environment.  Research in this project will be carried out in close collaboration with the research in Project 1.  Project 4 (Dr Lars Bejder and Prof. Stuart Bradley) investigates the impacts of human activities on dolphins (tourism, shipping, port development, recreation). Projects 1-4 will provide data to modify an existing demographic model of WA dolphins and to forecast the future growth or decline of the Bunbury population under a variety of impact and management scenarios for Project 5 (Assoc. Prof. Bill Sherwin and Prof. Stuart Bradley).
 
We are currently seeking applications from highly qualified candidates for the three Ph.D. projects – Project 2 (“dolphin genetics”), 3 (“dolphin prey”) and 4 (“impacts on dolphins”).  Ph.D. students for Projects 1 and 5 have already been selected.

GENERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR ALL THREE Ph.D. POSITIONS:
As the overall project consists of five inter-related components, the successful candidates will be expected to be able to work independently but also in close collaboration with a team of interdisciplinary researchers. Applicants must enjoy working in a team and be willing to work with and lead small groups of volunteers.
 
Successful candidates will be team-orientated, self-motivated, independent, enthusiastic, hard-working, organized and have strong communication and people skills. The ability to work relatively unsupervised, plan work, achieve results and demonstrate commitment will be looked upon favorably in the selection process.
 
SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS FOR EACH Ph.D.
PhD Project #2: Dolphin genetics. Contact:  Dr. Krützen (michael.kruetzen at aim.unizh.ch); cc: Dr. Bejder (l.bejder at murdoch.edu.au).
See: http://www.aim.unizh.ch/Members/Kruetzen.html
 
*Qualifications:
Minimum qualifications for students for Project 2 are a BSc (Hons) or Masters degree.
Students with previous expertise in population genetics and/or evolutionary biology, as well as expertise in molecular lab-techniques (STR analysis, DNA sequencing) are especially encouraged to apply. 
As part of the laboratory work will be carried out in Zurich/Switzerland, the selected candidate is expected to spend a significant amount of time overseas during the first one-two years of the PhD candidacy. Applicants are encouraged to address all of the above criteria, and keep applications as short and concise as possible. Applications in electronic format should be directed to Michael Krützen (michael.kruetzen at aim.unizh.ch).
 
PhD Project # 3: Dolphin prey. Contact: Prof. Loneragan (n.loneragan at murdoch.edu.au); cc: Dr. Bejder (l.bejder at murdoch.edu.au).
see http://wwwscieng.murdoch.edu.au/centres/fish/index.html
 
*Qualifications:
An undergraduate (first-class honors) or graduate (MSc) degree in biology, marine science, animal ecology, conservation or a related field.
Basic computer proficiency and Microsoft Access literacy. GIS experience is preferred. Skills in experimental design and statistics would be valuable.
A strong interest and background in analytical, quantitative and statistical techniques.
Have previous field experience in fish biology and ecology with a focus on identifying patterns of distribution and abundance, age and growth. 
Previous boat handling experience would be advantageous.
Applications in electronic format should be directed to Neil Loneragan (n.loneragan at murdoch.edu.au).

PhD Project # 4: Impacts on dolphins. Contact: Dr. Bejder (l.bejder at murdoch.edu.au).
 
* Qualifications:
An undergraduate (first-class honors) or graduate (MSc) degree in biology, marine science, animal behaviour, conservation or a related field.
Basic computer proficiency and Microsoft Access literacy. GIS experience is preferred. Matlab skills desirable.
A strong interest and background in analytical, quantitative and statistical techniques.
Previous field experience in theodolite tracking, acoustics, behavioural observations and photo-identification of dolphins will be looked favorably upon.  
Previous boat handling experience would be advantageous.
Applications in electronic format should be directed to Lars Bejder (l.bejder at murdoch.edu.au).
 
THE DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS IS 25TH SEPTEMBER, 2006, AND MUST CONTAIN THE FOLLOWING (LATE APPLICATIONS WILL NOTE BE REVIEWED):  
 
1. Curriculum vitae;
2. Letter of intent – specifying your interest in the specific Ph.D. project;
3. Two letters of reference, from professors or research supervisors who are familiar with your scholarship and work ethics;
4. A letter listing classes taken and grades obtained. An official transcript is not necessary - a copy is sufficient.

SCHOLARSHIP INFORMATION:
The selected applicants for Projects 2, 3 and 4 are subsequently expected to apply, on a competitive basis, for an Australian Postgraduate Award Scholarship and a Murdoch University Research Scholarship. For scholarship information, see below:
 
Australian, New Zealand and Australian permanent resident applications for scholarships see (deadline 31 October 2006): http://www.research.murdoch.edu.au/gradcentre/scholar.html#MURDOCHSCHOL
 
International student applications for scholarships see (deadline 30 Sept 2006): 
http://www.research.murdoch.edu.au/gradcentre/Internat.html
Please note: international scholarships are highly competitive.
 
All the best,
 
Lars Bejder                       
Research Leadership Fellow
Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research
Murdoch University
South Street, Murdoch, 6150
Western Australia
Ph:  ++ 61 (0) 8 9360 6027
Fax: ++ 61 (0) 8 9360 6303
Email: l.bejder at murdoch.edu.au
http://wwwscieng.murdoch.edu.au/centres/fish/people/LarsBejder.html
 
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