[MARMAM] Volunteers needed for bottlenose dolphin project, New Zealand

Outhwaite, Blair B.Outhwaite at massey.ac.nz
Wed Aug 19 15:20:34 PDT 2015


Bottlenose Dolphin Behavioural Volunteer Position at Great Barrier Island, New Zealand

A volunteer is required to assist with a MSc study investigating the behaviour of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) at Great Barrier Island (GBI) and part of the Auckland coastline, New Zealand. This MSc project is part of the ongoing research of the Coastal-Marine Research Group (C-MRG) at Massey University Albany, Auckland. (http://cmrg.massey.ac.nz<https://owa.massey.ac.nz/owa/redir.aspx?C=QIoA5pdRuUCToTWBw5X7lA6HAVO4K9EIsBSmP9km192DOB6SclPxubc4c_xlF5GTNghrzZmEhvI.&URL=http%3a%2f%2fcmrg.massey.ac.nz>).

The primary aim of this study is to assess the behaviour and acoustic repertoire of nationally endangered bottlenose dolphins in an area of zero tourism pressure.


DATES:
While the field season runs year round, currently volunteers are needed from September - December 2015. A minimum commitment of three months is required and priority will be given to those who can commit for longer periods.

LOCATION: Auckland, New Zealand

FIELDWORK:
The volunteer position entails assisting during field surveys and analysis of bottlenose dolphin behavioural videos and photo-identification (photo-id). The successful applicant will gain valuable experience in conducting marine mammal field research, identifying individuals based on dorsal fin characteristics, and the use of databases for archiving field data.
Field work is physically and at times mentally demanding but it is a great opportunity to gain knowledge in visual cetacean surveying, to get hands-on field experience in relation to survey techniques, photo-id, behavioural observations, and improve practical skills.
Fieldwork can vary between weekdays and weekends. Assistants therefore need to be available full-time including weekends and be prepared to work long hours with early starts. During GBI trips, we will be based on the island for an average of 4 days, once a month. Coastal surveys will be conducted over 4 non-consecutive days of each month. Both GBI trips and coastal surveys are weather dependent. All surveys will be conducted from a 4.8m Stabicraft vessel.


RESPONSIBILITIES:
. Assisting with; boat-based photo-id surveys from a small vessel and collecting environmental/video based behavioural data (25% of the time).
DISCLAIMER: while the best efforts will be made to ensure that the participant gains field work experience, due to the nature of the project, time in the field cannot be guaranteed.
. Analysis of photo-id and behavioural video data in the lab; including assistance with photo sorting, grading, and matching of photos, maintenance of a long-term photo-id catalogue, identifying behavioural events on video, and data entry. Research assistants should be prepared to work long days in the office analysing of photographs and matching them with the photo-identification catalogue (75% of the time).
As this is a volunteer position, there is unfortunately no monetary compensation or living provisions. The successful candidate should arrange their own accommodation in Auckland, living expenses, travel costs and visa. Accommodation and travel expenses to/from GBI will be covered.

PREREQUISITES:
. Be reliable, adaptable, hardworking and patient as fieldwork is highly weather dependent
. Have a mature and independent attitude towards marine mammal research
. Speak fluent English
. Be sociable, enthusiastic and have a positive attitude
. Strong interest in the marine environment and conservation
. Participants must be able to swim and should be comfortable working on small boats
. Participants must be comfortable living out of a small backpack (with the exception of food) for several days (during GBI trips)

QUALIFICATIONS:
. The project is well suited to upper level undergrads, recent grads and graduate students who have some background in Biology, Marine Biology, Ecology, Zoology or related fields
. Basic computer proficiency in MS Office (especially Excel)

Preferred qualifications but not required:
. Prior experience working on small vessels
. Field research including photo-id experience
. Previous experience in survey techniques and especially in marine mammal research
. First AID/CPR certification

APPLICATION PROCESS:
Applicants should send a short email to B.Outhwaite at massey.ac.nz<mailto:B.Outhwaite at massey.ac.nz>, using "volunteer position" as the subject line. The email should include an outline of why you would like to work on this project, the dates when you are available to assist on the project, your qualifications and relevant experience. Please also attach a brief CV including at least one reference acknowledging your relevant experience.

Early application is recommended as applications will be examined in order of reception.

All the best,
Blair
----------------------------------

Blair Outhwaite
MSc Candidate
Coastal-Marine Research Group
Institute of Natural and Mathematical Sciences
Massey University
Private Bag 102 904
Auckland, New Zealand

Tel:        +64 (0)9 414 0800
Ext:       43791(office)
Cell:      +64 (0)21 062 2794
Email:   B.Outhwaite at massey.ac.nz<mailto:B.Outhwaite at massey.ac.nz>
Web:    http://cmrg.massey.ac.nz/

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