[MARMAM] Second call for volunteers required for a behavioural response study on humpback whales in Australia

Elise Godwin e.godwin at uq.edu.au
Wed May 11 21:18:26 PDT 2011


The Cetacean Ecology and Acoustics Lab at the University of Queensland is seeking applications from volunteers for a seven week behavioural response study (BRS) on humpback whales from September 7 to October 30 this year. The study will examine how humpback whale behaviour is affected by noise from seismic airguns. It is the second in a series of studies, known as the Behavioural Responses of Australian Humpback whales to Seismic Surveys (BRAHSS) project, that will examine this issue over four years in collaboration with the University of Sydney, Curtin University, and the Australian Marine Mammal Centre.

The 2011 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) as well as a very successful first year of BRAHSS in 2010 (www.uq.edu.au/whale<http://www.uq.edu.au/whale>; www.sydney.edu.au/usims/brahss<http://www.sydney.edu.au/usims/brahss>).

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 as well a second array of acoustic recorders deployed in the area for propagation modelling and recording the airgun signals. Some whales will be tagged with Dtags or satellite tags. 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 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 land. Volunteers will get at least one day off per week, usually during bad weather. Due to the complex nature of the study, volunteers will receive detailed training at the beginning of the project and therefore successful applicants must be available for the entire duration of the project.

Volunteers must be sociable as they will be expected to work and live as part of teams with shared cooking and cleaning duties. We expect that there will be up to 60 people (researchers, staff and volunteers) at the site. 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 of marine mammals or other taxa will be preferred.
Applicants should reply with an email to Michael Noad (mnoad at uq.edu.au<mailto:mnoad at uq.edu.au>), Rebecca Dunlop (r.dunlop at uq.edu.au<mailto:r.dunlop at uq.edu.au>) and Elise Godwin (e.godwin at uq.edu.au<mailto:e.godwin 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. A second call for volunteers will be placed on Marmam in early May.

The research project is being funded by the Joint Industry Programme on E&P Sound and Marine Life (JIP) (www.soundandmarinelife.org<http://www.soundandmarinelife.org> ) and the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (www.boemre.gov<http://www.boemre.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
Cetacean Ecology and Acoustics Laboratory
School of Veterinary Science
The University of Queensland - Gatton Campus,
Qld 4343, Australia.
P. +61 (0)7 5460 1876    F. +61 (0)7 5460 1922
M. +61 (0)416270567
W. www.uq.edu.au/vetschool/cetacean-ecology-acoustic-laboratory<http://www.uq.edu.au/vetschool/cetacean-ecology-acoustic-laboratory>
W. www.uq.edu.au/whale<http://www.uq.edu.au/whale>

Elise Godwin | BSc. Marine Science |  Research Assistant | Cetacean Ecology and Acoustics Laboratory<http://www.uq.edu.au/vetschool/cetacean-ecology-acoustic-laboratory>
School of Veterinary Science | The University of Queensland - Gatton Campus, Qld 4343, Australia.
P. (07) 5460 1877 | UQ internal 50877) | M. 0421 804 734 |

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