[MARMAM] Research Assistant Advertisement- Bunbury WA

holly at webace.com.au holly at webace.com.au
Tue Feb 27 04:31:50 PST 2007


 PROJECT: Habitat utilisation by bottlenose dolphins Tursiops sp in
Bunbury and adjacent waters and population abundance and structure

I am seeking skilled research assistants for field work that will commence
in April 2007. Assistants will help me in collecting behavioural data in
the field on the bottlenose dolphin population off the southwest coast of
Western Australia. The field season for 2007 begins in April and will last
until December. Fieldwork will be based in the coastal town of Bunbury,
approximately 2hr drive south of Perth. Because of the training required,
applicants must be willing to commit to the project fulltime for a minimum
of 1 month. Applicants willing to participate for longer will be given


This is the first stage of a long-term commitment (>3 years) to research
cetaceans in the south-west region by Murdoch University. Three Murdoch
scholarships have been committed to and this project is based on the first
one of these.

The project aims to determine the population size and structure of the
dolphin population in Bunbury region and surrounds and determining the
residency patterns of the population. Identifying critical habitat for
dolphins for particular behavioural activity states such as nursing,
resting and foraging and determine drivers of these including
environmental and anthropogenic pressures and potential displacement
effects. Determining residency or seasonal movements and influences on
these (water temperature, prey availability, depth) and/or anthropogenic
drivers (industry, development, vessel traffic). This will assist in
determining the long-term viability of the population and the
sustainability and management of the tourism industry based on
interactions with the population.

FIELD WORK: All observations and data collection will be conducted from a
5m centre console boat equipped with a 80HP engine. Assistants should be
prepared to work long hours with early starts and be expected to
participate in the following duties: photo-identification & behavioural
data collection & entry, fin-matching, and database/catalogue maintenance.
There may be the opportunity to assist other researchers conducting
genetic sampling of the population or determing prey dynamics at the same
study site. Aboard the research boat assistants will be required to assist
in boat handling and data collection. Field work is physically and at
times mentally demanding but you will have the opportunity to observe and
gain hands-on experience in relation to survey techniques,
photo-identification, behavioural observations and improve existing
skills. This experience will be most useful to students or anyone hoping
to pursue a career in behavioural ecology or population biology.


1. Enrolled in or completed a degree in biology, marine science, animal
behaviour or a related field

2. Previous field experience with marine wildlife (photo-identification
and boat

handling skills would be advantageous but not a prerequisite).

3. Be enthusiastic, team oriented, have a positive attitude and good sense
of humour as well as a genuine interest in marine mammal science.

4. Be adaptable and patient as fieldwork is highly weather dependent. This
means officebased work during bad weather and long consecutive days in the
field when weather permits and fieldwork will vary between weekends and

5. Be prepared to work long days in a small vessel in small team of 3 people

6. Be able to commit for a minimum of 5 days a week for 1 month (though
applicants willing to commit for longer will be preferred)

Unfortunately I am unable to provide monetary compensation or living
provisions and research assistants will be responsible for travel to Perth
or Bunbury and their own living expenses. Pickup from Perth may be
possible but is dependent on arrival time.

If you are interested, please provide a short CV and cover letter
attention of Holly Smith (holly at webace.com.au <mailto:holly at webace.com.au>
) by Friday, the 23rd of March.


Holly Smith, BSc hons

PhD Candidate

School of Biological Sciences

Murdoch University, Western Australia

Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia

Mob: 0439828498

Email: holly at webace.com.au <mailto:holly at webace.com.au>

Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research Centre:

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