Christiansen, Fredrik f.christiansen at abdn.ac.uk
Thu Feb 4 02:02:56 PST 2010


This is a joint research project consisting of the two following projects:

The first project is investigating the effects of whale-watching and whaling on Minke whales in Icelandic waters and the interaction between the two industries. Four volunteers are needed for this project to help collect track data of Minke whales in the presence and absence of tourist boats in Faxaflói Bay, Iceland. A land based station, a 27m high lighthouse, will be used to track Minke whale movement and diving behaviour in the absence of tourist boats, by using theodolite and the software Cyclops. Whale-watching boats will be used as platforms to collect the same data during interactions with Minke whales, using range finder and GPS.

Another volunteer assistant is requested to partake in a second project investigating residency and site fidelity of Minke whales, white-beaked dolphins and humpback whales in Faxaflói bay, Reykjavik, Iceland. Cutaneous disorders of all three species will be also investigated.

Faxaflói Bay is a bay facing Reykjavík city where both whale-watching and whaling is currently taking place.  Daily whale-watching tours are arranged from Reykjavik to spot feeding Minke whales, white-beaked dolphins, Humpback whales and harbour porpoises. Reykjavik Whale-watching Company has been running whale-watching trips since 1998, with special interest in all whales visiting the bay. The company is member of Green Globe 21 and tries to fulfil environmental standards as well as certain whale-watching guidelines.
Since 2007, the Company started as well a Research project aiming to:
-      recognize individually Minke whales, white-beaked dolphins and humpback whales photographed
-      investigate the distribution of Minke whales and dolphins in association with underlying environmental variables
-      analyse the feeding behaviour of Minke whales and white-beaked dolphins and data collected on associated bird species
-      assess cutaneous disorders on Minke whales and white-beaked dolphins during photo-identification surveys

Tracking project: 10th of May to 15th of September 2010
Photo-ID: 15th April to 15th September 2010

The lighthouse that will be used for the land based tracking is located in Gardur, about 30km west of Reykjavik, north of Keflavik, and overlooks the southern part of Faxaflói Bay. Volunteers working from the land based station in Gardur will be living in a shared apartment close to Keflavik. This is a two bedroom apartment with bathroom and kitchen, and volunteers will need to share their bedroom with one other volunteer. Transportation to and from the lighthouse in Gardur will be done by car or bus, which is covered by the project. There are also free buses going between Keflavik and Reykjavik regularly.

For the boat based work, two whale-watching motor vessels will be used as research platform: Elding and Hafsúlan each approx 30m long. Living space for the boat based people is located on a former fishing boat in the old harbour, with 3 single rooms, bathroom, kitchen, living room and internet access (25 square metres); 10 min walking distance to the city centre.

Because of the training required, applicants must be willing to commit to the project a minimum of two months. Applicants willing to participate for the whole working period will be given preference.

Unfortunately, neither of these positions are paid and the successful candidates must be able to cover their own travel expenses, travel insurance, food and other personal expenses. Accommodation will be provided.

Applicants should be ready to work long hours (07:00 to 17.00 or to 20.00 hours depending on weather conditions) and be expected to participate in the following duties:

Tracking project:
-      collect Minke whale track data from land with theodolite
-      enter track data into Cyclops software in real time
-      collect Minke whale track data from whale-watching boat
-      data entry

Photo-ID project:
-      collect photographic material on whales and dolphins
-      photo-identification work/fin matching
-      recognition of skin marks

Above this, cleaning, painting and other maintenance tasks is part of staying at the fishing boat in the old harbour as a gratitude to the free accommodation provided by Elding.

-      have a strong background in Marine biology/Oceanography, with knowledge and experience of marine mammal behaviour and/or sea birds
-      have previous wildlife field experience and ability to stand long working days, sometimes in rough sea conditions
-      have previous cetacean photo-identification skills (relevant for the ID assistant position)
-      have previous theodolite tracking skills (relevant for the land based positions)
-      have previous experience working with Cyclops software (relevant for the land based positions)
-      be computer literate with a working knowledge PC operating system and proficiency with MS Word and MS Excel. Familiarity with software including MS Access and Photoshop is very helpful. Possibility to bring your own Laptop is much preferred
-      be enthusiastic, hard-working, team oriented, able to share small living space on board
-      be adaptable, flexible and patient as fieldwork is highly weather dependent
-      have good English language skills
-      bring your own digital reflex camera and zoom lens (pre-requisite for the ID assistant position)
-      have a valid European driving license (pre-requisite for the land based positions)

CV or resume should include the following:
-      details of your availability
-      contact details of two referees
-      a brief description of yourself including your interest in marine mammals and what you hope to gain from this experience
-      specify if you have any preference for the "tracking" project or the "photo-ID" project.
-      any dietary requirements (i.e. carnivore, vegetarian, vegan, etc.)

Send applications both to Chiara Bertulli and Fredrik Christiansen (see below):

Chiara Bertulli (MSc Student)
Marine biologist/Research Coordinator
c/o Reykjavík Whale-watching Company
Ægisgardur 7
101 Reykjavík

University of Iceland
Biology Department
Sturlugata 7
101 Reykjavik
E-mail: cgb1 at hi.is<mailto:cgb1 at hi.is> / ciarabertulli at yahoo.it<mailto:ciarabertulli at yahoo.it>
Mobile: +354-8618307
Skype: chiara.giulia.bertulli


Fredrik Christiansen (PhD Student)
University of Aberdeen
Institute of Biological Sciences
Tillydrone Ave
Aberdeen AB24 2TZ
United Kingdom
E-mail: f.christiansen at abdn.ac.uk<mailto:f.christiansen at abdn.ac.uk>
Mobile: +44 78 18725081

The University of Aberdeen is a charity registered in Scotland, No SC013683.
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