[MARMAM] seeking research assistants-Australian Snubfin and humpback dolphin project

Guido Parra g.parra at uq.edu.au
Wed Feb 21 17:45:06 PST 2007



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


I am seeking a skilled research assistant for the 2007 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 seasons for 2007 will last 4 months starting in May and
ending in August. 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 for the whole 4 months will be given preference.


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
5.6m aluminium boat equipped with a 100HP. 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, 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, photo-identification, behavioural
observations, and genetic sampling of marine mammals. Such experience will
prove valuable to anyone hoping to pursue a career in wildlife ecology,
animal behaviour, and conservation biology.


1.	Have a background in biology, marine science, animal behaviour or a
related field 
2.	Previous field experience with photo-identification and boat
handling skills would be advantageous but not a prerequisite. 
3.	Be enthusiastic, hard-working, team oriented, have a positive
attitude and a genuine interest in marine mammal ecology and behaviour. 
4.	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 weekends may be required.
5.	Be prepared to rise early in the morning and work long hours in a
small boat. 
6.	Be able to commit for a minimum of 4 weeks (though applicants
willing to commit for the whole 4 months will be preferred) 

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 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) by Monday, the 19th of




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: g.parra at uq.edu.au

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

Behavioural Ecology Research Group: http://www.uq.edu.au/berg



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