[MARMAM] Seeking volunteer research assistants for a project on endangered Australian sea lions

Sylvia Osterrieder sylvia.osterrieder at gmail.com
Sun Feb 9 21:04:55 PST 2014

*Seeking volunteer research assistants for a project on endangered
Australian sea lions*

*Project title:*

*Conservation ecology and human disturbance of Australian sea lions in WA*

*Project description:*

In this study, baseline information on the ecology and behaviour of
Australian sea lions in Western Australia are being collected. This project
aims to provide basic knowledge on the sea lions' colony sizes, movement
patterns, temporal and spatial habitat use as well as critical haul-out
behaviour that will inform the management of Australian sea lions
inhabiting key breeding and non-breeding locations in Western Australia.
Scan samples and individual focal follows (behavioural observations) are
being conducted to measure the level of disturbance caused by humans using
the beaches simultaneously with these endangered otariid. Also, a new
photo-identification method is being tested and developed to recognize
individual Australian sea lions in the field. This method would aid in
estimating the population size of Australian sea lions and investigating
their residency patterns and habitat use on key breeding islands and
haul-out locations in Western Australia.


*Main field sites:*

Seal Island in the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park and Carnac Island Nature
Reserve, Western Australia.

A few other haul-out islands within the Perth Metropolitan area are also
being visited during monthly boat surveys.

*Field trip dates: *March - April/May 2014

Bad weather days will be spent entering and processing data. Priority will
be given to assistants who can commit for longer periods due to the
training required. Research assistants who can commit for 2-3 months are
strongly preferred.

*Assistant duties: *Collecting and recording observational data, both on
land and from the boat. Assistants will be helping with data entry and
processing, including sorting and processing photos and information
recorded on dictaphones.


1. Background knowledge in marine biology, ecology or conservation and
experience in field research is a plus.

2. Research assistants should be confident working for long hours on
islands with limited facilities and on small boats. Boat license and
handling skills would be beneficial.

3. Assistants need to be dedicated to help in this project. During data
collection the ability to focus for long periods, collecting and recording
high quality and accurate data is required. Assistants are expected to
maintain a positive attitude during long hours in the field and towards
other team members, also in varying weather conditions.

4. Field trips are very weather dependant and will therefore be organised
at short notice (often only 1-2 days prior) and will vary between week and
weekend days and may take place on public holidays. Field trips start early
in the morning.

*Expenses: *This is an unpaid opportunity to gain training and experience
in ecological sciences and particularly in marine mammal research.
Transportation to the study sites can be provided from Fremantle, WA but
unfortunately other travel expenses cannot be covered. Research assistants
are expected to bring their own lunch and water.

If you are interested in helping out in this project, please send a CV, a
brief cover letter highlighting previous experience and relevant
qualifications along with contact details of two relevant referees to:
sylvia.osterrieder at gmail.com.

Sylvia Osterrieder

PhD Candidate

Ecology & Sustainability Group, College of Engineering and Science,
Victoria University, Melbourne, Victoria


Research Associate

Centre for Marine Science and Technology, Curtin University, Perth, Western
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