[MARMAM] Humpback whales observers needed, Western Australia

Amanda Hodgson A.Hodgson at murdoch.edu.au
Thu May 23 01:31:55 PDT 2013

Blue Planet Marine (Sam du Fresne), Murdoch University (Josh Smith and Amanda Hodgson), and Counting Whales (Sharon Hedley) are conducting a pilot study that aims to test a number of methodologies for population abundance surveys of humpback whales in Western Australia. This project is not about carrying out an actual abundance survey but rather conducting land based observations simultaneously with aerial surveys, trialling independent methods to determine what is the best approach in the future for an abundance survey here in WA. There is a land-based component for which we will evaluate two new locations for conducting surveys: southern Dirk Hartog Island in Shark Bay and Yardie Creek south of Exmouth on the NW Cape. The other component is an aerial survey that will test two methods: circle back and cue counting, and will occur in the same locations.

We are looking to two aerial survey observers, and two land-based observers, to conduct this work. As we are testing new methods and new locations, we'd like experienced people who we know will understand the concepts well enough for us to assess each of these aspects.


All observers to arrive in Perth by 6th July 2013, and will be mobilised to Shark Bay on 7th July.

Aerial team to fly in small plane (Partenavia) to Exmouth on 21st July.

Land-based team to fly Shark Bay to Perth on 20th July, Perth to Exmouth on 21st July.

All observers to demobilise back to Perth on 4th August.


The aerial team will stay at the Peron Homestead (near Denham) while operating out of Shark Bay, and in a house at the Ningaloo Caravan and Holiday Resort while operating from Exmouth.

The land-based team will likely stay at the 'old shearer's quarters' using camping equipment on Dirk Hartog Island, and then stay at Yardie Creek Homestead & Caravan Park on the NW Cape.


Aerial survey observers – demonstrated experience conducting line transect surveys of whales (preferably humpback whales).

Land-based survey observers – demonstrated experience spotting whales from land (or boat), and preferably, experience using a theodolite for tacking whales and/or using the computer program VADAR (previously known as Cyclops).


Aerial survey observers – all travel between Perth and the field sites, and all other expenses while in the field will be covered. You will also receive a modest salary. Travel costs between other major cities in Australia and Perth may be provided if necessary.

Land-based observers – all travel between Perth and the field sites, and all other expenses while in the field will be covered. These are voluntary positions.


Please email one of the following collaborators if you are interested in these positions, and provide a CV that describes your relevant experience. Note that only we can only take people available for the whole field trip.

Sam du Fresnse: sam at blueplanetmarine.com<mailto:sam at blueplanetmarine.com>
Josh Smith: joshua.smith at uqconnect.edu.au<mailto:joshua.smith at uqconnect.edu.au>
Amanda Hodgson: a.hodgson at murdoch.edu.au<mailto:a.hodgson at murdoch.edu.au>

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