[MARMAM] Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation research assistant positions summer 2018

Stephanie Levesque stephanie.levesque at iwdg.ie
Tue Jan 23 10:13:57 PST 2018



The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) is a registered charity *dedicated
to the conservation and better understanding of cetaceans (whales, dolphins
and porpoises) in Irish waters, *with offices based in the Shannon Dolphin
Centre, Kilrush Co Clare. The IWDG established the Shannon Dolphin Project
in 1993 to develop and provide educational awareness and conservation of
the Shannon dolphins. An interpretive centre is open to the public and used
to promote educational awareness of the dolphins and wildlife in the
Shannon region. The Shannon Dolphin Project in 1993 to develop and provide
educational awareness and conservation of the Shannon dolphins has a strong
research background and has collaborated with a number of Irish and
international research groups. Long-term monitoring of the bottlenose
dolphin population in the Shannon has been carried out using photo-id since
1993 and static acoustics since 2001. The Shannon dolphins are unique as
they are genetically discrete and largely confined to the Shannon Estuary
and adjacent Brandon and Tralee Bays. The Shannon estuary was designated as
a Special Area of Conservation for bottlenose dolphins in 2000 and is one
of only two such sites for this species in Ireland.

The Shannon Dolphin Project is seeking research assistants from
May-September 2018 based in Kilrush, Co. Clare, Ireland. For more
information about the Shannon Dolphin Project see www.shannondolphins.ie.
Research assistants will be required to conduct monitoring surveys from
dolphin-watching tour boats, spend a considerable amount of time on
bottlenose dolphin photo-identification and related office tasks, and
assist in the management of the dolphin centre on a daily basis. Photo-id
training will be provided on the boats and in the office. There will also
be opportunity to help with research conducted on board the IWDG’s research
vessels *Muc Mhara* and *Celtic Mist*, and to assist the IWDG with cetacean
strandings should the opportunity arise.

These positions provide an excellent opportunity to develop skills in
marine research and education and to assist with one of the longest-running
bottlenose dolphin population monitoring programs in Europe.


We are seeking skilled research assistants to commence on 15 May 2018.
Because of the training required, applicants must be able to commit to
three or four months. Research assistants are required full-time finishing
28 September 2018.  Up to two days off a week will be either assigned, or
given when requested if possible.


Kilrush is a small town located in west Clare on the northern shore of the
Shannon Estuary. The Shannon Dolphin Centre is located less than 5 minutes’
walk from the town centre. West Clare is a beautiful place to work, but
applicants are asked to be aware that it is also somewhat geographically
isolated with limited facilities and variable weather patterns.


1. Conducting monitoring surveys from two dolphin-watching tour boats
operating in the Shannon Estuary, collecting photo-id data and recording
data on tour boat encounters with dolphin groups. Surveys involve one to
three daily boat trips and are weather dependent.

2. Photo-identification and database entry in the office, including fin
identification, fin-matching, photo processing, sighting data entry and
maintenance of our long-term photo-id catalogue. Research assistants should
be prepared to work long days in the office during bad weather, and long
days in the field during good weather.

3. Dolphin centre duties, including general administrative tasks, receiving
visitors to the dolphin centre, engaging with and educating members of the
public, managing merchandise, updating websites and supporting and
promoting theIWDG, and raising awareness and membership participation.
Also, general maintenance of research equipment and facilities.



-   Genuine interest in marine mammal biology, the marine environment and

-   Basic computer proficiency in MS Office

-   Previous photo-identification experience or a strong desire to learn
photo-id skills

-   Excellent verbal and communication skills and enthusiastic with a
positive attitude

-   Sociable and work well both in a team and independently

-   A detail-oriented work ethic with an ability to work in a meticulous

-   Conscientious, reliable, hard-working, and self-motivated

-   Flexible and patient; must be prepared to work long days in the field
or office

-   Comfortable working on boats and no history of debilitating seasickness

-   Good English language skills

-   Must be 18 years or older

Preferred but not essential

-   Enrolled in or completed a degree in Biology, Marine Biology,
Environmental Science, Animal Behaviour, Ecology, Zoology or related fields

-   Previous field research experience, especially in marine mammal research

-   Prior experience working on boats

-   A strong interest and knowledge of bottlenose dolphins and/or Irish

-   Experience in interacting with the public

-   Familiarity with DSLR cameras and GPS equipment and software

-   Prior experience with MS Access and IMatch

-   Driving Licence, preferably having your own vehicle

-   Possibility to bring your own laptop for data entry


Volunteers will be expected to work and live as part of a team with shared
cooking and cleaning duties. Unfortunately, there is no monetary
compensation for these positions and a contribution of *€400 per month* towards
accommodation and utilities is required. Accommodation will be provided in
a shared house within walking distance of the dolphin centre and town of
Kilrush. Research assistants are responsible for their own food costs and
travel expenses to and from Kilrush, Ireland.

The closing date for applications is 30 March 2018. However, early
application is recommended. Shortlisted candidates may be required to
undertake a Skype interview in April. Successful applicants will be
notified by mid-April.

To apply, please send your CV (including two relevant referees and their
contact information) and a covering letter with a brief description of
yourself and what you hope to gain from this experience, details of why you
would like to work on this specific project and any relevant experience you
have to *Stephanie Levesque (stephanie.levesque at iwdg.ie
<stephanie.levesque at iwdg.ie>).*

Please also specify the dates you expect to be able to join the project.
Please put “Research Assistant” in the subject line of your email.

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