[MARMAM] HDR Honours opportunity: Burrunan dolphin research, Victoria Australia

Dr Kate Charlton-Robb kcr at ammcf.org.au
Sun Feb 2 20:45:14 PST 2014


HONOURS OPPORTUNITY with the AUSTRALIAN MARINE MAMMAL CONSERVATION 
FOUNDATION (AMMCF) and DEAKIN UNIVERSITY for PROJECT BURRUNAN.

The Australian Marine Mammal Conservation Foundation (AMMCF), in 
affiliation with Deakin University, is currently seeking applications 
from highly qualified candidates for BSc Honours, mid-year intake 2014 
(research-based). Two projects will be offered investigating the 
population structure and spatial ecology of the newly described Burrunan 
dolphin (Tursiops australis) in Victoria. These projects are a part of 
AMMCFs larger research program Project Burrunan led by Dr Kate 
Charlton-Robb.

BACKGROUND & PROJECT OVERVIEW
A new species of dolphin, the Burrunan dolphin (Tursiops australis), 
endemic to southern Australia, has recently been described 
(Charlton-Robb et al. 2011). Tursiops australis are currently known to 
inhabit inshore regions of Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia. 
Previous research shows the species consist of small genetically 
distinct populations susceptible to numerous threats and is likely to be 
of grave conservation concern. Tursiops australis has also recently been 
listed under the Victorian State Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act as 
‘threatened’. Gippsland Lakes is one of only two places in Victoria that 
T. australis has an established a resident population, as such greater 
scientific knowledge underpinning the correct management and 
conservation is crucial.

AMMCF, a newly established not-for-profit organisation, has it's 
primary mission to “strive to support and work with Australia’s marine 
mammal scientists and researchers to establish and advance the 
knowledge, conservation and protection of our marine mammals.” Dr Kate 
Charlton-Robb, AMMCFs Founding Director and Principal Researcher has 
over 14 years’ experience researching the dolphins across southern 
Australian and was the primary researcher that formally described and 
classified the Burrunan dolphin.

Project Burrunan focuses on using applied research to further 
investigate the newly described Burrunan dolphin (Tursiops 
australis)(Charlton-Robb et al. 2011). The aims of the project is to 
assess the species' distribution and range, gain better estimates of 
overall population size, assess the level of gene flow between the 
discrete populations and to assess potential migration pathways. This 
project will also investigate the presence and habitat use of the 
Burrunan across coastal and offshore regions of Victoria.

AMMCF has several Honours projects on offer for 2014 that will be a 
part of the wider Project Burrunan supervised by Dr Kate Charlton-Robb. 
These projects will be offered in affiliation with Deakin University, 
co-supervised by Associate Professor John Arnould.
We are seeking highly motivated, dedicated, high achieving students to 
be involved with;
1.	Gippsland Lakes Burrunan dolphin population assessment - estimates 
of overall population size and structure and levels of residency through 
individual dolphin fin identification (combined with genetic analyses 
already being undertaken).
2.	GIS/habitat mapping – mapping environmental, spatial and dolphin 
sighting data to identify areas of significance within the Lakes and 
Gippsland coastal region (i.e breeding and feeding grounds).
AMMCFs core and other affiliated projects can been seen on our website 
ammcf.org.au. This will allow you to learn more about the Foundation and 
its focus on marine mammal research, protection and conservation.

REQUIREMENTS
•	Bachelor of Science degree, with a minimum of Distinction average.
•	Experience in collecting and processing ecological data.
•	Proficiency in Microsoft and statistical packages.
•	Experience in marine mammal (particularly dolphins) behavioural 
observations and photo-identification techniques (for Project 1).
•	Experience with GIS software (for Project 2).
•	Previous boat handling experience would be considered favourable.

APPLICATION PROCESS
Expressions of interest must be received no later than March 3rd 2014 
and must contain the following:
1.	A brief covering letter outlining your relevant experience and the 
project of interest.
2.	Curriculum Vitae
3.	Current academic transcript
4.	Two relevant referees who are familiar with your academic, research 
and ethical record.
Please forward the above to Dr Kate Charlton-Robb kcr at ammcf.org.au.

Applications will be considered and we will contact you with further 
information by 24th March 2014.
If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact me.
Kind Regards,

Dr Kate Charlton-Robb
Principal Researcher
Australian Marine Mammal Conservation Foundation
PO Box 2046
Hampton East VIC 3188
e: kcr at ammcf.org.au
w: ammcf.org.au


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