Valeria Senigaglia valeria.senigaglia at gmail.com
Mon Dec 26 04:44:11 PST 2016

Hello everyone,

I am seeking THREE research volunteers from the 1st of January 2017.
Volunteers will assist in the data collection of my PhD on the effects of
food provisioning on bottlenose dolphins in Bunbury, Western Australia. The
project is part of the South West Marine Research Program.

Program: The South West Marine Research Program is a long-term, monitoring
project on the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins of South West Australia.
The program is based in Bunbury (south of Perth) and is a collaboration
between Murdoch University Cetacean Research Unit and numerous industry and
non-profit partners. Previous research focused on dolphin population
dynamics, abundance, social structure, habitat use, conservation, genetics
and foraging ecology

PhD Outline: The project will explore the ecological consequences and
socio-economic drivers of a food provisioning program of free-ranging
bottlenose dolphins in Bunbury, Western Australia. The feeding is conducted
under a state license by Dolphin Discovery Center as part of their
touristic offer. I will examine both the short- and long-term ecological
consequences of food provisioning at both the individual and population
level. Specifically, the project aims to determine potential effects of
food provisioning on dolphin behavioral budgets, maternal care, home range
sizes, reproductive success and social dynamics. Moreover, the project will
also explore the satisfaction level and attitude towards food provisioning
of staff and visitors. Ecological and socio-economic consequences of food
provisioning will then inform management planning.

Data on dolphin behavior will be collected from boat and from the beach
where the food provisioning takes place. Additionally, questionnaires will
be distributed to the visitors and staff of the Dolphin Discovery Centre.
This experience will be most useful to students or anyone hoping to pursue
a career in behavioral ecology, conservation and social science or marine


Office: Murdoch University Cetacean Research Unit, South West Marine
Research Program office based at the Dolphin Discovery Centre in Bunbury.


Duties: Behavioural data collection, spotting wildlife, boat driving,
social science, photo identification

Office: Data entry, fin matching, project organisation. Computer programs
used for data are: FinBase, ACDSee, Microsoft Access, Excel and Word.

Assistants should be adaptable and patient as fieldwork is highly weather
dependent. Fieldwork will vary between weekdays and weekends and can be
long hours and on consecutive days.
Preferred skills/traits:

1. Enrolled in or completed a degree in biology, marine science, animal
behaviour or a related field.
2. Previous field experience with wildlife (field data collection,
photoidentification, boat handling skills).
3. Be enthusiastic, team oriented and have a positive attitude as well as a
genuine interest in wildlife science.

Unfortunately, we are unable to provide monetary compensation or living
provisions and research assistants will be responsible for their own travel
to Western Australia and living expenses. Please note, the Bunbury
backpackers and the Rosa Hotel provide good discounts for assistants of the
Dolphin Discovery Centre. Moreover, additional help in finding shared
accommodation can be provided.

If you are interested in volunteering or interning, please provide a short
CV and a cover letter to the attention of Valeria Senigaglia
valeria.senigaglia at gmail.com
Valeria Senigaglia
PhD student,
Cetacean Research Unit
Murdoch University
valeria.senigaglia at gmail.com
v.senigaglia at murdoch.edu
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