[MARMAM] Volunteers required for a behavioural response study on humpback whales in Australia

Michael Noad mnoad at uq.edu.au
Sun May 16 23:49:40 PDT 2010


The Cetacean Ecology and Acoustics Lab at the University of Queensland
is seeking applications from volunteers for a 5 week Behavioural
Response Study (BRS) on humpback whales from September 18 to October 24
this year. The study will examine how humpback whale behaviour is
affected by noise from seismic airguns and is the first in a series of
studies that will examine this issue over the next 4 years in
collaboration with the University of Sydney, Curtin University, and the
Australian Marine Mammal Centre. 

The study will be conducted at Peregian Beach on the Sunshine Coast just
north of Brisbane and follows several successful studies of humpback
whale vocalisations and behaviour at the same site during the Humpback
whale Acoustic Research Collaboration (HARC). 

Volunteers are required mainly to conduct land-based observations of the
whales as they pass our study site. Approximately 3,000 whales should
migrate southwards within 10km of Peregian Beach during the field period
making the site ideal for land-based tracking and observations of
behaviour. We will also have a fixed hydrophone array moored offshore
allowing us to record ambient noise and whale vocalisations and
acoustically track singing whales in real time. Some whales will be
tagged with Dtags. Although volunteers will be used to help out on the
boats, opportunities for volunteers to participate in boat work are
limited and most time will be spent doing the land-based observations.
Volunteers will also have opportunities to participate in the acoustic
recording and tracking of whales.

Individual volunteers will spend approximately five hours daily (in two
shifts) counting and observing passing whales from the headland.
Volunteers will get at least one day off per week, usually during bad

Volunteers must be sociable as they will be expected to work and live as
part of a team of up to 60 people with shared cooking and cleaning
duties. Volunteers must organise and pay for their own transport to the
study site (close to Brisbane international airport) but food and
accommodation are provided once there. As meals are communal, fussy
eaters are discouraged from applying (vegetarians are fine). 

This project will suit people with a background in science (including
recent graduates and graduate students as well as higher level
undergraduate students) keen to gain experience in cetacean survey
techniques, acoustics and behavioural response studies. Applicants
should also be highly motivated and able to concentrate for several
hours at a time. Those with previous survey experience, particularly of
marine mammals, or a strong mathematical or modelling background, will
be preferred. 

Applicants should reply with an email to Michael Noad (mnoad at uq.edu.au)
and Rebecca Dunlop (r.dunlop at uq.edu.au) outlining why they would be
suitable for this survey, why they would like to participate, an outline
of previous relevant experience, and any other relevant details. The
email should include an attached CV and the names and contact details of
two professional referees. The closing date for applications is 31 May
and successful applicants will be notified during June.


The research project is being funded by the Joint Industry Programme on
E&P Sound and Marine Life (JIP) (www.soundandmarinelife.org ) and the US
Minerals Management Service (www.mms.gov ) as part of a broad
investigation into the potential interaction between the sounds that are
generated by the offshore petroleum industry and the marine environment.



Michael Noad   BVSc PhD

Senior Lecturer, Veterinary Anatomy

Leader, Cetacean Ecology and Acoustics Laboratory

School of Veterinary Science

The University of Queensland - Gatton Campus, 

Qld 4343, Australia. 

P. +61 (0)7 54601876

M. 0416270567     W. http://www.uq.edu.au/vetschool/ceal



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