[MARMAM] Voloubteers and Research Assistant poistion for Capricorn Cetacean Project

Daniele Cagnazzi dcagna10 at scu.edu.au
Tue Feb 2 00:41:54 PST 2010

The Capricorn Cetaceans Project is currently accepting applications for
volunteers, interns and research assistants for the Australian winter season
from June to September 2010.

The Capricorn Cetacean Project started in 2006 as part of Cagnazzi Daniele
PhD study. The primary aim of this project was to study inshore dolphin
species primarily on two threatened species the Indo-Pacific humpback
dolphin and the Australian snubfin dolphin in the Southern Great Barrier
Reef, from Gladstone to Shoalwater Bay, Queensland Australia. With the years
this project evolved including studies more species. 

Field work include daily coastal surveys, coastal expedition and reef
expeditions. Coastal daily surveys will be conducted on a 6m center console
vessel, due to the extension of the study area launching points vary
depending on the weather and surveys needs. Costal expeditions will be
organized to survey the most remote areas, several hundred km away from any
human activity. These expeditions will last between 4 and 5 days, during
which we will sleep in a camp set up on unexploited beaches where with some
luck we will fish our dinner. Reef expedition (50 miles away from the coast)
will be done with a 13m long 5 star powered catamaran with all the comforts.
Nights will be spent within the lagoons of breath taking coral islands (Lady
Musgrove, Lady Elliot, Heron Island and Fitzroy Reef)  that will be possible
to explore during the afternoon at the end of the work day. Snorkeling is
also possible and worthwhile, and as I am a diving instructor upon interest
we can organize some dives too. 

During field work we will applied standard technique normally used in
cetaceans studies and we will also collect skin samples using a biopsy pole
and a PAXARM biopsy system.

These are the major projects on which we will be working:

.         Modelling habitat suitability of coastal dolphins along the QLD

.         Population genetics and phylogeography of Australian snubfin and
humpback dolphins in Australian waters: defining appropriate management
units for conservation

.         Taxonomic status and ecology of a undescribed form of spinner
dolphin "pigmy spinner dolphin" (Stenella spp) from the Capricorn Bunker
group, Southern Great Barrier Reef. 

.         Use of non-destructive toxicology biomarkers and residue analysis
to assess the toxicology status of humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis) and
snubfin dolphins (Orcaella heinsohni) in Australian coastal waters

.         Estimating population size of inshore dolphins species in Central
Queensland using DISTANCE techniques.


Furthermore we will continue with the collection of data from all cetaceans
species sighted during our surveys, such as dugongs, offshore bottlenose
dolphins, inshore bottlenose dolphins, spinners dolphins, humpback whale,
Minke whales and False killer whales. We will also continue collecting
photo-id data on humpback and snubfin dolphins to increase accuracy of
population estimates and to estimate population trend.

While on land the team will share a house in Yeppoon a nice costal town in
Central Queensland, accommodation including internet and power is free,
while we will share the shopping costs for the food.

The possibility of an internship will be evaluated directly with the
interested person.

Volunteers are not required to have any previous experience except for a
profound interest in cetaceans and a background in marine studies or
similar. Application from volunteers for less than 2 months will not be

One research assistant position is also available potential candidate are
required to stay for the full four months. Research Assistant need to have
previous experience with boat handling and field work studies. The
successful applicant will have the food costs plus a weekly reimbursement to
discuss directly with me.

Interested applicants should forward a letter and their CV directly to me
dcagna10 at scu.edu.au

For more detailed information do not hesitate to contact me


Daniele Cagnazzi


Southern Cross University Whale Research Centre

Southern Cross University

2480 Lismore NSW Australia

PH:   +61 0266203815

FAX: +61 0266212669


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