[MARMAM] Research assistant position - common dolphin photoID study, Tauranga, New Zealand

Anna Meissner anna.meissner at gmail.com
Mon Feb 4 00:00:28 PST 2013

Two research assistants are required to assist with a PhD study
investigating common dolphin ecology (*Delphinus* sp.) in the Bay of
Plenty, New Zealand. This PhD project is part of the ongoing research of
the New Zealand Common Dolphin Project (NZCDP) and the Coastal-Marine
Research Group (C-MRG) at Massey University Albany, Auckland. (


Growing interest in observing and swimming with free-ranging cetaceans has
contributed to a rapid growth of dolphin-based tourism operations. The PhD
project aims to examine distribution and habitat use of common dolphins in
the East Coast Bay of Plenty and assess the effects of interacting
activities on both populations. Part of the study focuses on
photo-identification in order to assess common dolphin site fidelity in the
Bay of Plenty.


March - September 2013. A minimum commitment of 3 months is required.
Priority will be given to candidates who can commit for longer periods.


Tauranga, New Zealand


 Analysis of photo-identification data, including assistance with photo
sorting, grading, and matching, sighting data entry, maintenance of
long-term photo-id catalogue using a MS Access database. Research
assistants should be prepared to work long days analysing photographs and
matching them with the photo-identification catalogue.

Opportunistically, the candidate will be able to join the team on the field
and learn environmental and behavioural data collection for cetaceans.
Surveys will be conducted from tourism boats. Surveys will be carried out
in the coastal waters of Tauranga. Fieldwork is weather dependent and can
vary between weekdays and weekends.

Assistants need to be available FULL-TIME (including WEEKENDS and PUBLIC
HOLIDAYS if on the field) and be prepared to work on computer 6-8 hours per

This position is suitable in the framework of a degree, with the
opportunity to write up a report/thesis for the candidate university/school.


. Be meticulous, reliable, adaptable, hardworking and patient.

. Have a mature and independent attitude towards marine mammal research.

. Speak fluent English

. Be sociable, enthusiastic and have a positive attitude

. Strong interest in the marine environment and conservation

. Previous experience in photo-ID on small cetaceans will be considered.


. 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 fields.

. Basic computer proficiency in Microsoft Office (especially Excel and

Preferred qualifications but not required:

. Field research including photo-identification experience

. Previous experience in survey techniques and especially in marine mammal

. Prior experience working on small research vessels


This is a volunteer position, so there is unfortunately no monetary
compensation or living provisions. However, help can be provided to find
accommodation. Assistants will be responsible for travel to Tauranga and
their own living expenses.

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

Early application is recommended as applications will be examined in order
of reception.

Kindest regards,

Anna Meissner

Anna M. Meissner
PhD student
Coastal-Marine Research Group
Institute of Natural and Mathematical 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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