[MARMAM] Volunteers required for killer whale and fin whale research in Spain

Pauline Gauffier paulinegauffier at hotmail.fr
Wed Jan 28 03:30:34 PST 2009

The research group CIRCE (http://www.circe-asso.org) is seeking applications from volunteers to help with fieldwork on killer whale energetic budget and fin whale collision risk assessment in the Strait of Gibraltar. Fieldwork will take place from 15 March to 31 May 2009 for the killer whale project and from 1 June to 31 July for the fin whale project, using a similar protocol. Killer whale project: 15 March-31 May
The killer whale population of the Strait of Gibraltar has a diet mainly based on Bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus). This population is believed to be in danger due to the rapid decrease of their prey under human fishing. They usually feed on tuna using an “endurance-exhaustion” technique. This behaviour can be easily observed from 2 land based stations on top of the cliffs of La Breña national park, Andalucia, South of Spain. We wish to collect behavioural and positional data (using binos and theodolite) from these land stations as well as blow rates to assess the energetic budget of this foraging technique.
Fin whale project: 1 June-31 July
The fin whales observed in the Strait of Gibraltar are in migration between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea and are still recovering from years of hunting. Due to the high and increasing maritime traffic in the Strait, at least 2 ship strikes have been observed with fin whales since 1999 and probably more remain unknown. Therefore, we would like to assess for this population the risk of collision with tankers or ferries, or even smaller vessels such as whale watching boats. We will use theodolite tracking from 2 land stations to find the main routes for the fin whales as well as any behavioural changes in relation to boat movements. 
Volunteers should be available at least for one week study (see http://www.circe-asso.org/english/index.html?voluntariado_en.htm&1) but long period availability will be preferred. You will be responsible for your transport to and from the main centre, but once there, we will provide accommodation and transport to the land stations. You will be responsible for your food expenses, but we will arrange communal shopping/cooking so that these expenses will be low. Successful applicants will:- have a mature attitude towards marine mammal research- be autonomous and quickly operational 
- be able to live and work constructively with others in a team
- have (at least!) notions of English and/or Spanish (French?)
 Preference will be given to those who:- can commit for a long period
- have previous relevant marine mammal field experience
- have previous experience in theodolite handling, including tracking  Applicants should send an email introducing themselves to voluntariado at circe-asso.org . The email should include an outline of why you would like to work on this project, your qualifications and previous experience. Please also attach a brief CV.
Applications will be accepted until 1 March for the killer whale project and 15 May for the fin whale project although early application is recommended as applications will be examined in order of reception.
For more information, see http://www.circe-asso.org/english/index.html?voluntariado_en.htm&1 (also available in Spanish and French) or contact voluntariado at circe-asso.org 
Best wishes 
Pauline GauffierRuth Esteban

CIRCE (Conservation, Information and Research on CEtaceans)Cabeza de Manzaneda, 311390 Pelayo-Algeciras (CADIZ)SPAINhttp://www.circe-asso.org 
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