[MARMAM] Volunteers requested for Australian humpback whale project
anallen at whoi.edu
Tue Jun 28 13:39:47 PDT 2011
Project: A playback study to determine if humpback whales are utilizing
active or passive acoustic cues for orientation during migration.
Position: Unpaid volunteer
Dates: 3 August-4 September, 2011
Location: Point Lookout, North Stradbroke Island, Queensland, Australia
We are conducting an experimental study of humpback whale orientation
mechanisms at Point Lookout on North Stradbroke Island near Brisbane,
Australia. Humpback whales pass very close to shore at this location
during their northern migration from Antarctica to the Great Barrier
Reef. We will conduct playbacks of several different sound stimuli in
order to determine if the whales are utilizing active or passive
acoustic cues to orient themselves in the marine environment during
migration. Playbacks will be conducted from a small vessel. The whales
will be monitored from shore during playbacks for changes in course or
Volunteers are needed to conduct land-based visual observations of the
study whales from a cliff site overlooking the playback location.
Volunteers will assist in selecting appropriate whale groups for the
experiment. Utilizing a surveyor’s theodolite they will monitor the
location and behavior of each surfacing of the whale group for the
duration of each playback. Participants will rotate duties between
visual observations utilizing binoculars, tracking of whales utilizing a
theodolite and monitoring sighting locations and behaviors on a laptop.
There will opportunities for volunteers to participate in boat work
and aid in conducting playbacks. Volunteers will be expected to
participate in full days of observations with rotation of
responsibilities and breaks between playback groups. There will usually
be one or more days off per week due to bad weather.
Qualifications: The project is well suited to upper level undergrads,
recent grads and graduate students who have some background in science.
Participants should be keen to gain experience in cetacean survey
techniques and playback experiments. While previous experience in
survey techniques is desired, it is not required. The main criteria for
applicants are an interest in cetacean surveys and an ability to
concentrate for several hours at a time while working in a small group.
Due to the training required, applicants should be available for the
entire project time period. Volunteers will need to provide their own
transportation to the study site (accessible by public transportation
from Brisbane international airport). However, once they have arrived
at the study site all food and accommodation will be provided for the
duration of the project. Participants must be able to live and work
well with a small group of people (6-9) for extended periods of time.
Cooking and cleaning duties will be shared and meals will be communal.
Applicants should email a letter of interest outlining relevant
experience and motivation for participation, as well as a CV and the
contact details of two professional references to Ann Allen at
anallen at whoi.edu. Applications will be accepted until all volunteer
positions are filled.
This project is funded by the National Geographic Committee for Research
and Exploration and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
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