[MARMAM] SEEKING EXPERIENCED FIELD ASSISTANTS for research on tropical dolphins around Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia

Tim Hunt tim.hunt at flinders.edu.au
Mon Mar 25 02:17:56 PDT 2013

SEEKING EXPERIENCED FIELD ASSISTANTS for research on tropical dolphins around Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia

Fieldwork dates: Commences 13 May 2013 for 5-6 months (ends late October 2013).

Application deadline: Monday 8th April 2013

Project title: Population size, habitat use and social structure of Australian humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis) around the North West Cape, Western Australia.

Institution: Cetacean Ecology, Behaviour and Evolution Lab; Flinders University; South Australia www.cebel.org.au<http://www.cebel.org.au>

Overview: I am seeking experienced field assistants to assist with boat-based photo-ID and (some) biopsy sampling of humpback (and bottlenose) dolphins around the North West Cape in north-western Australia for 5-6 months from 13 May 2013.

* Commitment to the full duration of the project is of course preferred, however a minimum commitment of 2-3 months will certainly be considered *

This project aims to collect baseline information on the abundance, habitat use and social structure of humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis) around the North West Cape to improve the scientific basis for their conservation and management. The project is funded by the Australian Marine Mammal Centre and our research is in collaboration with the Murdoch University Cetacean Research Unit.

This is an opportunity to gain experience in field techniques for small cetacean research and contribute to a project with very high conservation and management value. Furthermore, it provides assistants the opportunity to conduct research in a unique natural setting along the World Heritage Listed Ningaloo Coast, home to one of the longest near-shore reefs in the world, Ningaloo Reef. The region is abundant with marine life, including seasonal visits from whale sharks (April-July) and humpback whales (July-November). A spectacular research setting!

Location: We will be based in the town of Exmouth on the tropical North West Cape of Western Australia. We will be staying in shared villa/unit/house-style accommodation within walking distance of the Exmouth town centre.

Duties: Searching for dolphins, driving the boat, taking photos, making and recording field observations, equipment cleaning and basic maintenance, data entry (incl. fin matching), a fair share in communal cooking and housekeeping duties, and generally working hard and having a great time in a beautiful and unique part of the Australian coastline.

Expectations: Field assistants need to be available full-time, including weekends, and be prepared for early morning departures (6-7AM), long days (6-8 hours) on the water for multiple consecutive days, and lengthy days transcribing data. Expect up to a week between days off. Expect to spend sometimes several days stranded on land. If the weather isn't right we won't be conducting the surveys and will have to wait it out. So bring a book or two and lots of movies to watch. Expect to see dolphins, dugongs... and turtles....and sharks...... and maybe a whale or few.  Most of all, expect to learn a lot while having an awesome time.


*         Experience of working on and driving a small boat (essential);

*         Experience of photo-ID survey techniques (highly desirable);

*         Experience of field research on small cetaceans (highly desirable);

*         No history of debilitating seasickness (essential);

*         Be team-oriented, patient, clean, and have an enthusiastic attitude to hard work, long hours and collecting data on the natural environment (essential);

*         Fluent in English (highly desirable).

Expenses: This is an unpaid position. However, food and accommodation in Exmouth are provided at no cost to assistants. Assistants are responsible for their own travel costs to/from Exmouth (direct flights available from Perth). If however assistants can commit from the beginning of the fieldwork season there will be seats available in the car travelling Perth to Exmouth on 13 May.

Please send a CV, a brief covering letter outlining your relevant experience, and contact details of two relevant referees to tim.hunt at flinders.edu.au<mailto:tim.hunt at flinders.edu.au> by Monday 8th April 2013.

Tim Hunt
PhD Candidate
Cetacean Ecology, Behaviour and Evolution Lab (CEBEL)
School of Biological Sciences
Flinders University of South Australia
[cid:image003.jpg at 01CE2991.9A3E3D50]<http://www.cebel.org.au/>

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