[MARMAM] VOLUNTEER NEEDED FOR LAND BASED BODY CONDITION STUDY ON SOUTHERN RIGHT WHALES USING UAVS

Fredrik Christiansen f.christiansen at live.se
Tue Apr 16 05:41:33 PDT 2019


VOLUNTEER NEEDED FOR LAND BASED BODY CONDITION STUDY ON SOUTHERN RIGHT WHALES USING UAVS


The Aquatic Megafauna Research Unit (AMRU) at Murdoch University, Perth, Australia, is looking for a volunteer to assist land based Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) research on Southern right whales at the Head of the Bight, South Australia, between the 20th of June and the 28th of September 2019. Only applicants available for the entire duration of the project will be considered, as access to the field site is difficult.


The research project aims to investigate Southern right whale body condition on their South Australian breeding/nursing grounds, as part of larger research project looking into baleen whale health (https://amru.org.au/southern-right-whale-body-condition-on-breeding-grounds/). To measure body condition, aerial photographs of the whales will be collected using an UAV operated from the cliffs overlooking the Great Australian Bight. The UAV will be operated by the chief scientist due to strict regulations in Australia.


Duties include cliff based searches for right whales, observation of right whale behavioural responses during UAV approaches, and looking for raptor birds that could intervene with UAV operations. The research assistant will also be expected to help out with data entry, processing and measurements of body morphometrics from UAV photographs.


This is an unpaid position and the successful candidate will have to cover the costs of transport to and from Perth, Western Australia, from where the research team will depart on the 21st of June and return to on the 27th of September. The person will also have to provide their own travel insurance. Accommodation will be provided in the form of a shared caravan that will also function as an office. This will be shared with another researcher. The caravan will be parked at the Nullarbor Road House which has toilet and shower facilities, a small convenience store, a café and a restaurant. Food expenses will be covered by the project. Phone reception is good at the Nullarbor Road House, but very limited at the field site. Internet is limited and expensive (do not expect to stream/download larger files or skype), and will be provided for research purposes only.


The Head of the Bight study area is very remote and isolated place (arid conditions) with very limited resources and communication. During the austral winter, bad weather is expected and will prevent UAV operations on approximately 50% of the days, so be prepared to stay indoors for extended periods of time. Due to the restricted living conditions it is essential that the candidate is able to live and work closely with the other researchers, is tolerant and respectful towards others and had a positive attitude. Strong work ethic and the ability to endure extended periods of office based work during periods of bad weather condition are essential. People with previous experience living in remote places and/or experience flying UAVs will be given priority. The person needs to be fluent in English and bring their own laptop computer (preferably a PC).


The Head of Bight is a beautiful and pristine environment with amazing wildlife, where right whales can be observed very close to shore. In addition to whales you might be lucky to see wombats, dingo’s, white-bellied sea eagles, wedge-tailed eagles, pink cockatoos, bobtail lizards, brown snakes, sea lions, little penguins, dolphins and white sharks.


Please apply by sending your CV (2 pages maximum) and cover letter (1 page) with the names and contact details of at least three professional references to f.christiansen at murdoch.edu.au<mailto:f.christiansen at murdoch.edu.au>


Best regards,

Dr Fredrik Christiansen

Assistant Professor

Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies, Aarhus University, Denmark

Aquatic Megafauna Research Unit, Murdoch University, Australia

+45 31332367, f.christiansen at murdoch.edu.au

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