[MARMAM] SEEKING FIELD ASSISTANTS FOR RESEARCH ON HAWAIIAN SPINNER DOLPHINS
J.Tyne at murdoch.edu.au
Tue May 11 13:38:06 PDT 2010
I am seeking experienced research assistants for my PhD field work that aims to a) quantify possible effects of human interactions on spinner dolphins (Stenella longirostris) in resting bays in Hawaii and b) assess the effectiveness of time-area closures as a proposed mitigation tool. This is the first stage of a long-term project on spinner dolphins along the west coast of the Big Island of Hawaii by Murdoch University, Western Australia (http://www.cffr.murdoch.edu.au/mucru/ <http://www.cffr.murdoch.edu.au/mucru/> ) and Duke University, North Carolina (http://nicholas.duke.edu/marinelab/ <http://nicholas.duke.edu/marinelab/> ).
The project aims to collect baseline data on the local abundance, distribution and behaviour of spinner dolphins using a suite of modern visual and acoustic techniques in five spinner dolphin resting bays in Hawaii. These data will be used to determine residency and fidelity patterns and investigate the possible effects of human interactions on the spinner dolphins and to assess the effectiveness of time-area closures as a mitigation approach. This will assist in determining the long-term viability of the spinner dolphin population and the sustainability and management of the human interactions within the resting bays.
Boat based photo-identification surveys will be conducted in each of four resting bays off the west coast of the Big Island of Hawaii and at another control site, off the island of Molokai, to evaluate abundance of spinner dolphins before and after the implementation of time-area closures.
Where possible, the movements and behaviour of spinner dolphins and boats will be studied from local cliff tops overlooking spinner dolphin resting bays using a digital theodolite. Theodolite data will be used to derive time series of information on activity state, path sinuosity, speed, and synchronicity of schools.
Bottom-mounted acoustic recorders will be deployed in two of the resting bays that will also be subject to photo-identification- and theodolite studies described above. Initially, acoustic survey periods will be continuous (no duty cycle) and will coincide with daily visual observations in order to link acoustic detections with the distribution and behaviour of dolphins.
Field work will be physically and at times mentally demanding but you will have the opportunity to observe and gain hands-on experience and improve existing skills in relation to theodolite survey techniques, photo-identification, and behavioural observations. This experience will be most useful to students or anyone hoping to pursue a career in behavioural ecology or population biology.
I am seeking skilled research assistants to commence in July 2010. Assistants will help collect information on spinner dolphin abundance, distribution and behaviour off the west coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. The field season for 2010 begins in July and will last until December 2010 / January 2011.
Because of the training required, applicants must be willing to commit to the project fulltime for a minimum of two months. Applicants willing to participate for longer will be given preference.
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, theodolite tracking 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 office based work during bad weather and long consecutive days in the field when weather permits. Fieldwork will vary between weekends and weekdays.
5. Be prepared to work long days in a small vessel in small team of three-five people
6. Be able to commit for a minimum of five days a week for two months (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 Hawaii and their own living expenses.
If you are interested, please provide a short CV and cover letter attention of Julian Tyne (j.tyne at murdoch.edu.au <mailto:j.tyne at murdoch.edu.au> ).
Murdoch University Cetacean Research Unit (MUCRU)
Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research
Faculty of Sustainability, Environmental and Life Sciences
South Street, Murdoch, 6150
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