[MARMAM] Seeking volunteers

Alvaro Berg alvaro_berg at hotmail.com
Wed Feb 14 21:50:28 PST 2007


Volunteers needed for dolphin research

Overview: A great opportunity is open for marine mammal enthusiasts to 
participate in hands-on research with dolphins in North Stradbroke Island, 
Southeast Queensland, Australia. The project aims to study the surface and 
acoustic behaviour of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins and the potential 
effects of anthropogenic noise in their environment. Volunteers will help 
measure different aspects of the dolphins’ behaviour by using a variety of 
instruments to track their movements, identify individuals and record 
behaviour. This study is part of my doctoral studies and is supervised by 
Dr. Helene Marsh (James Cook University), Dr. Guido J. Parra (University of 
Queensland) and Dr. Michael Noad (University of Queensland).

Conditions: Research will begin on the third week of April of this year and 
will extend to December 2007. Volunteers are expected to participate for a 
minimum of three months. The research team will be camping in a town called 
Amity Point, located at North Stradbroke Island, within Moreton Bay, 
adjacent to the Brisbane City area, in Southeast Queensland. We will camp 
for two weeks at a time, every month and share cooking duties. Although the 
project provides a communal research tent for the team, volunteers are free 
to bring their own tent and camping gear, for privacy purposes. The project 
will cover accommodation and food costs for these two camping weeks in the 
island. The other half of the month, however, will be responsibility of the 
volunteer. Research periods are not set in stone, as we depend largely on 
weather conditions. Thus, camping plans may vary each month and may extend 
for more than two weeks. The project will cover only transportation costs in 
and out North Stradbroke Island. All other transportation costs involved in 
arriving to Brisbane or Australia are responsibility of the volunteer.


Eligible Criteria: The prospective applicant will satisfy the following 
criteria:

• Science background: Have a background in biology, zoology, marine biology, 
animal behaviour or a related field. Knowledge on cetaceans will be a plus 
but not essential.
• Long-term commitment: Be able to commit for a minimum of 3 months.
• High degree of flexibility: Fieldtrips to the island are highly variable 
due to weather patterns.
• Financially sustainable: Project will only cover living costs during 
fieldtrips and transportation costs in and out North Stradbroke Island
• Adaptability: Camping conditions may sometimes be harsh. To enjoy camping 
experiences, one must be able to adapt to all possible contingencies.
• Teamwork experience: Successful behavioural studies depend mainly on the 
ability to work as a team among the different components of the group.
• Previous experience (preferable but not essential): This research will use 
a series of instruments to study dolphin behaviour. Previous experience 
using these devices would be beneficial for the project:
a. Theodolite or total station for surveying purposes
b. Digital camera for photo-id purposes
c. Video camera
d. Boating
e. First aid
• Good attitude: Long fieldtrip periods can affect moods and change 
behaviours. By maintaining a positive attitude at all times the research 
team can enjoy every moment of the research experience, and help others do 
the same.
• Play an instrument (definitely not essential): Playing an instrument 
releases stress, helps listening to others and creates team unity. It is 
only a plus, not a limiting factor; so do not hesitate in applying for this 
position if you do not play.

Benefits:

• Travel and explore new places
• Meet interesting people
• Get involved in dolphin research
• Gain fieldwork experience
• Learn to use different research instruments: Theodolite, digital camera, 
video camera, sonobuoys, etc.
• Help advance our knowledge of dolphins to improve their conservation
• Enjoy the outdoors
• Enjoy the culinary talents of others and express your own.

Contact:

If interested or got queries, please contact research leader and send him 
your resume by Thursday, the 22nd of March (Please include dietary choice 
for planning purposes: i.e. carnivore, vegetarian, vegan, etc.):

Alvaro Berg
Cetacean Ecology and Acoustics Lab
School of Veterinary Science
University of Queensland
St. Lucia, QLD 4072

Phone: 04 2311 9472
Email: alvaro_berg at hotmail.com

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