[MARMAM] Research Assistants required for Mandurah Dolphin Research Project in Western Australia

Krista Nicholson K.Nicholson at murdoch.edu.au
Tue Nov 17 20:21:13 PST 2015

Research Assistants required for Mandurah Dolphin Research Project in Western Australia (WA)

Murdoch University Cetacean Research Unit (MUCRU<http://mucru.org/>) is commencing a new research project aimed at gaining a solid understanding of the bottlenose dolphins using the Peel-Harvey Estuary (part of Ramsar Wetlands) and adjacent coastal waters. The overall aim of the project is to conduct a population assessment. In short this involves characterizing population size and structure, habitat use and genetic connectivity of dolphins using the estuarine and coastal areas.

I am seeking dedicated research assistants (volunteers) to help out with boat based data collection and data processing starting in January 2016. Data collection (photo-identification and biopsy sampling) will be conducted year round in inland waters to up to 12nm offshore (and maybe even further). The minimum commitment for an assistant position is two months with the higher intensity fieldwork conducted in Jan&Feb, Apr&May, Jul&Aug, Oct&Nov.  Data collection is weather dependent and research assistants are expected to be available full time during day light hours throughout the time they commit to the project. You can expect long days on the boat (~6.5m vessel) on consecutive days followed by processing data in the office.
The main duties for research assistants are:
Data collection: spotting dolphins, driving the boat, taking photographs for photo-identification, recording data
Data processing: downloading data, entering data, matching fins, mapping sightings
General: Maintaining the boat and car, clean equipment, community engagement

You can expect to learn, or improve your practical skills (taking photo-ID shots, driving a trailer, launching a boat, general boat handling etc.), be exposed to small cetacean biopsy sampling methods and become efficient in processing photo-ID data. And to top it off you will have the opportunity to visit MUCRU and be exposed to great minds involved in various marine mammal research projects!

There are no pre-requisites for the position; however, assistants need to not be scared of hard work, long hours and getting their hands dirty. Assistants need to be independent individuals who have a strong desire to be part of a team and enjoy people and ‘coffee moments’. Preferred prior skills include boat handling, first aid, and experience in photo-ID as well as enrolment in a related field of study or a strong desire to pursue a related career.

This is an unpaid position and assistants need to organise their own travel to and from Mandurah, which is approximately 1 hr south of Perth in WA. The office space will be in a research house where assistants are welcome to, and preferred to, rent a room for an indicative cost of 100-150 AUD/week (inclusive of internet). And for your free time Mandurah has everything you can think of a holiday town to offer (shops, cafes, bars, cinema, nature, hikes, camping, surfing, diving, snorkelling, paddle boarding, kayaking, wildlife spotting, skydiving etc.) and Perth is only an hour away.

To apply for this position please send me a cover sheet specifying why you would like to assist in this project, the time you are applying for, your CV and names and contact details of two references to k.nicholson at murdoch.edu.au<mailto:k.nicholson at murdoch.edu.au> .

Looking forward to hearing from you!

All the best,

Krista Nicholson
PhD Candidate
Murdoch University Cetacean Research Unit
Perth, Western Australia
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