[MARMAM] Field assistant opportunity: dolphin research in New Zealand, September 2011-April 2012

Anna Meissner anna.meissner at gmail.com
Sat Jul 2 16:09:45 PDT 2011


Positions are open for volunteers to assist with bottlenose and common
dolphin field surveys in the East Coast Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.


Growing interest in observing and swimming with free-ranging cetaceans has
contributed to a rapid growth of dolphin-based tourism operations. The
present study aims to assess the effects of interacting activities on common
and bottlenose dolphin behaviour within the East Coast Bay of Plenty waters.

DATES: September 2011-April 2012

LOCATION: Tauranga, East Coast Bay of Plenty, New Zealand


A dedicated scientific team will be studying the behaviour and distribution
of bottlenose and common dolphins in the Bay of Plenty. You can join our
crew to learn environmental and behavioural data collection for cetaceans,
help with photographic data collection and get basic marine navigation
skills. Assistants are also expected to participate in data entry and
database/catalogue maintenance duties.

Surveys are conducted from a 5.5m research boat and from tourism boats.
Surveys are carried out in the coastal waters of the East Coast Bay of
Plenty, starting from Tauranga.

Fieldwork is weather dependent and can vary between weekdays and weekends.
Assistants need to be available full-time including weekends and be prepared
to work long hours with early starts.

Field work is physically and at times mentally demanding but it is a great
opportunity to gain knowledge in visual cetacean surveying, to get hands-on
field experience in relation to survey techniques, photo-identification,
behavioural observations, and improve practical skills (GIS, data analysis,


·         Be reliable, adaptable, hardworking 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.

·         Be prepared to work long days with early start in a small vessel.

·         Be sociable, enthusiastic and have a positive attitude.


·         The project is well suited to upper level undergrads, recent grads
and graduate students who have some background in Biology, Marine Biology,
Ecology, Zoology or related field

·         Basic computer proficiency in Microsoft Office (especially Excel
and Access) + ArcGIS is required

·         Previous experience in survey techniques, and especially in marine
mammal research is preferred but not required

·         Participants must be able to swim and should be comfortable
working on boats

·         Boat operation experience is preferred but not required

·         Participants must be able to live and work well within a team of
3-6 people for extended periods of time.

Due to the training required, applicants should be available for a minimum
of 2 months, however all applicants will be considered.

This is a volunteer position, so there is unfortunately no monetary
compensation or living provisions. However, help will be provided to find
accommodation. Assistants will be responsible for travel to Tauranga and
their own living expenses. Pick up from Auckland may be possible but will be
dependent on arrival time.

Applicants should email a letter of interest outlining relevant experience
and motivation for participation, as well as a CV and the contacts for
referees to Anna Meissner a.m.meissner at massey.ac.nz

Thank you!

Cheers, Anna


Anna M. Meissner
PhD student
Coastal-Marine Research Group
Institute of Natural Sciences
Massey University
Private Bag 102 904
North Shore City, 0745
Auckland, New Zealand

Tel: +64 9 414 0800 ext 41520
Cell: +64 22 603 6646
Fax: +64 9 443 9790
Email: a.m.meissner at massey.ac.nz
Web: http://cmrg.massey.ac.nz

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