[MARMAM] Volunteers required to assist with a study of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in Northland, New Zealand

Peters, Catherine C.Peters at massey.ac.nz
Mon Aug 19 19:56:28 PDT 2013

Volunteers required to assist with a study of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in Northland, New Zealand


The Coastal-Marine Research Group (C-MRG - http://cmrg.massey.ac.nz/) was established under the auspices of the Institute of Natural Sciences (INS)<http://ins.massey.ac.nz/> at Massey University, Albany, New Zealand in 2000. Since then, both its staff<http://masseyuniversity.webs.com/ourteam.htm> and postgraduate students<http://masseyuniversity.webs.com/students.htm> have undertaken marine mammal research within and beyond New Zealand waters, concentrating specifically on conservation and management orientated questions.

Volunteers are required to assist on a PhD study (supervised by Dr Karen Stockin, Massey University and Prof Mark Orams, AUT University) to assess the behavioural ecology and conservation of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the Bay of Islands, Northland, New Zealand. Bottlenose dolphins are classified as nationally endangered within New Zealand waters (Baker et al 2010), with a local population recently described (Tezanos-Pinto et al in press). This study builds upon earlier research undertaken by Tezanos-Pinto (2009) and Constantine (2002) and will among other things, reassess the status and effects of tourism interactions (a decade on from Constantine 2002).

Volunteer activities:

The field season runs year round and volunteers are required for all periods. A minimum commitment of three months is preferred, with priority given to those who can commit for longer periods. One volunteer is required to begin in September 2013, priority will be given to applicants that fit this requirement.

The volunteer team will be required to fulfill several key roles:

Assist on a 5.5m dedicated research vessel operating from the Bay of Islands. Surveys will involve daily return trips (not overnight) and be conducted in favorable conditions only. As such, no minimum or maximum number of research days onboard the research vessel can be guaranteed
Assist with vessel of opportunity data collection in the Bay of Islands
Assist with data processing and preliminary analysis on bad weather days
Undertake additional responsibilities/roles as the season progresses
Effort will placed into allowing all volunteers the opportunity to gain experience on each element.

Volunteer requirements:

Be adaptable and patient – field work is highly weather dependent and could include long, consecutive days both on and off the water
Be enthusiastic and team orientated (both in a living and working environment)
A willingness to learn
Possess a positive attitude
Be polite to, and engage positively with, the local community
Be physically fit and able to work in outdoor conditions
Speak English
Possess basic computer skills (excel, word, etc)

Preferred (but not necessary) skills/traits:

Be enrolled in, or have completed, a degree in a related field (Biology, Zoology, Marine Biology, Animal Behaviour, etc)
Have small boat experience
Have previous (marine) field experience

Enthusiasm and demonstrable commitment to the project will supersede formal qualifications. Volunteers will be expected to work and live as part of a team with shared cooking and cleaning duties. Unfortunately, monetary compensation cannot be provided, and volunteers will be required to pay for their own food and accommodation. However accommodation will be provided in the field research house at a reasonable rate. Volunteers must pay and organize for their own transport to the field site (3 hours North of Auckland). Information, prices and assistance can be provided to successful applicants.

Application process:

Applicants should send a short email cover letter, using ‘volunteer opportunity’ as the subject line, to c.peters at massey.ac.nz<mailto:c.peters at massey.ac.nz>. The email should include an outline of why you would like to work on this project, your availability and relevant experience. Please also attach a brief CV including at least one reference.
Early application is recommended to avoid disappointment. Successful applicants will be notified ASAP.

This is a great opportunity to work in a dynamic environment and gain further experience, whilst working on an important research project. For more detailed information on the project please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you for your interest.

Many thanks


Catherine Peters
PhD Candidate
Coastal-Marine Research Group
Institute of Natural and Mathematical Sciences
Massey University
Private Bag 102 904
New Zealand
Tel: + 64 (9) 4140800
Ext: 41196
Mob: + 64 (0) 211058040
Email: c.peters at massey.ac.nz<mailto:c.peters at massey.ac.nz>
Web: http://cmrg.massey.ac.nz/
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