[MARMAM] Field assistants needed for a boat-based study on dusky dolphins off Kaikoura, New Zealand

Dara Orbach orbachd at tamug.edu
Fri Jul 13 07:40:27 PDT 2012


Field assistants needed for a boat-based study on dusky dolphins off Kaikoura, New Zealand

Highly motivated volunteer field assistants are needed to assist with a PhD project assessing the mating tactics of dusky dolphins off Kaikoura, New Zealand. This research is in collaboration with Dr. Bernd Würsig at Texas A&M University at Galveston. The project runs from late October 2012 through the end of January 2013 (with a 2 week vacation period in late December to travel) and volunteers who can commit to the full project duration are preferred. 

Vessel operator (1 position): The primary duty entails operating a 5.5-m research vessel (inflatable, rigid hull, 80 HP outboard motor) including launching and docking the vessel, safely maneuvering the vessel to determined GPS co-ordinates, and following dolphin pods while facilitating smooth conditions for videography and photography. Responsibilities also include assisting with behavioral analysis of videos. Applicants should have experience operating motorboats including launching, docking, bunking, and trailering a vessel. 

Photographer (2 positions): The primary duty entails photographing dolphin dorsal fins for photo-id analysis during boat-based focal follows. Photography field assistants will also crop, sort, and match fin photographs. Applicants for this position should have extensive experience using a DSLR camera to photograph moving animals at a distance. Please mention if you have previous field experience with boat-based photography or photographing wild elusive animals.

Expectations: All applicants should be hard working, able to follow instructions with precision, exceptional communicators, innovative problem solvers, and comfortable on boats. This project involves continuous teamwork and applicants must be able to get along well with others and maintain a positive attitude under stressful conditions. Positions can be physically and mentally demanding, and are best suited for those with a passion for behavioral ecology field work.

Typical field days involve being on the water from 8 AM through 4 PM, followed by several hours of data processing. Data are collected whenever the weather conditions are conducive, including weekends. 

These positions are unpaid and field assistants are responsible for their own food expenses and travel to/from Kaikoura. Housing is provided in a stunning luxury home with incredible views and private bedrooms. Field vehicles are available for errands in town.

To apply, please send a cover letter and cv detailing relevant field work experience with 2 references to Dara Orbach (orbachd at tamug.edu) prior to August 1st 2012. Please also indicate in your cover letter if you are able to operate a manual/standard vehicle. Funded masters and honors students with project ideas that could utilize the same data set (photo id and mating videos) are also encouraged to apply.

Thanks for your interest,
Dara Orbach

Ph.D. student
Marine Mammal Research Program
Department of Marine Biology- IDP
Texas A&M University at Galveston
orbachd at tamug.edu
http://www.tamug.edu/mmbeg



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