[MARMAM] Seeking assistants for research on tropical dolphins in Bunbury, Western Australia.

Randal Counihan randalcounihan at gmail.com
Thu Jul 25 04:56:04 PDT 2013

Seeking assistants for research on tropical dolphins in Bunbury, Western

Dates: commences 31 August 2013 for several months (ends early 2014).

Project title: South West Marine Research Program long term monitoring

Institution: Cetacean Research Unit, Murdoch University - www.mucru.org

Overview: I am seeking experienced field assistants to assist with
boat-based photo-ID and behaviour analysis in south-west Australia from 31
August 2013. This is a long term project, 7 years so far, with the current
phase extending into 2014. A minimum commitment of 5 weeks is expected,
though longer stays are preferred.

The South West Marine Research Program is a long-term, multifaceted project
on the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins of South West Australia. This
program is based in Bunbury (south of Perth) and is a collaboration between
Murdoch University Cetacean Research Unit and numerous industry and
non-profit partners. The research, of PhD and masters students, focuses on
dolphin population dynamics, abundance, social structure and behaviour,
habitat use, conservation genetics and foraging ecology.

Long-term data will be collected and used to investigate population
dynamics and habitat use, in order to aid in future conservation and
management efforts. Benthic habitat mapping and photo identification
fieldwork is conducted from Busselton to Binningyup within a 540km2 area
consisting of coastal beaches, inshore bays, estuarine inlets and a river.


This is an opportunity to gain experience in field techniques for small
cetacean research, while contributing to a project with a high conservation
and management value.

Location: Bunbury is a small city, approx. 1 hour  South of Perth. The
project will be based in the Dolphin Discovery Centre, where Murdoch have
office facilities.

Duties: Field work will involve searching for dolphins, driving the boat,
taking photos, making and recording field observations, equipment cleaning
and basic maintenance. Fieldwork is highly weather dependent and will vary
between weekdays and weekends. When weather permits days on the water could
be long and on consecutive days.
There will be a fair amount of office work involved including data entry,
fin matching and project organisation. Computer programs used for data are:
FinBase, ACDSee, Logger, Microsoft Access, Excel and Word.

Prerequisites: Enrolled in or completed a degree in biology, marine
science, animal behaviour or a related field.Previous field experience with
wildlife (field data collection, photo identification, boat handling
skills). Experience with research on small cetaceans is desirable but not
essential. Be enthusiastic, team oriented and have a positive attitude as
well as a genuine interest in wildlife science.

Expenses: Unfortunately, we are unable to provide monetary compensation or
living provisions and research assistants will be responsible for their own
travel to Western Australia and living expenses. Please note, the Bunbury
backpackers provide good discounts for assistants of the Dolphin Discovery

If you are interested in volunteering, please send a CV, a brief covering
letter outlining your relevant experience, and contact details of two
relevant referees to randalcounihan at gmail.com by Friday 2nd August 2013.

Randal Counihan randalcounihan at gmail.com
Murdoch University Cetacean Research Unit (MUCRU)
School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology
Murdoch University, 90 South Street, Murdoch WA 6150
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