[MARMAM] Seeking volunteers for research on humpback whales in Western Australia

Kate Rose-Ann Sprogis kate.sprogis at bios.au.dk
Tue Apr 23 05:16:53 PDT 2019

Seeking volunteer research assistants in Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia, for a research project to evaluate the underwater noise effects of boats on humpback whales.

Project Outline: We are seeking full-time volunteers for assistance on a post-doctoral research project. The project aims to investigate the underwater noise effects of boats on humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae): https://marinebioacoustics.wordpress.com/people/kate-sprogis/

Primary Investigators: Dr Kate R. Sprogis and Prof. Peter T. Madsen.

Location: Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia. Exmouth is a small, remote town with limited shops that is ~16hrs drive north of Perth.

Timing: We are seeking 2-3 volunteers for dedicated, full-time assistance for 4 week and 6 week blocks during August 5th to November 1st 2019 (block one: ~3rd August- ~19th September, block two: ~19th September- 1st November).

Specifics: You will be assisting on the research project, which is field and office based. Each day or half day that the weather permits we go on the boat (6m rigid hull, centre console) to collect data. To collect data we conduct controlled exposure experiments, which involves boat driving, assistance with acoustic equipment, assistance with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), laser range finder measurements, photo-identification of dorsal fins and behavioural data note taking. Data collection also involves acoustic calibration tests, received noise experiments, ambient noise measurements and boat acoustic signature data collection. When the weather does not permit, we work on data entry, UAV video processing, photo-id from dorsal and aerial photos, photogrammetry measurements, equipment maintenance, project organisation and logistics (e.g. weather checking for timing for boating and acoustic experiments). We live in a research house with team members (5 on the team).

Preferred skills and traits: We seek hard-working, motivated, friendly people that are willing to give it their all to achieve a great research output. We seek people who are attuned to the intensities of fieldwork and research. Prior field experience with cetaceans and small-boats is preferred. Assistants should be adaptable and patient as fieldwork is highly weather dependent (e.g. any day with <15knt winds, including weekends, on consecutive days and can be 10hr long days). As many days are office days, we seek an individual that has initiative, but will also work diligently on routine tasks. We are seeking people that have a genuine interest in wildlife and conservation research, so please note that you will not be on the Ningaloo Reef side so will not be seeing whale sharks etc. unless you go on a paid tour. As field researchers, our lives consist of living in a house with assistants for extended durations, so we seek easy-going, positive, kind, team-players with a mature attitude. The assistant will need to be fluent in English.

What will you gain?: In the field you will gain knowledge on the behaviour of humpback whales, how to conduct field experiments (acoustics, playbacks, UAV data collection), field skills (reading weather, driving boat, using SLR camera), and how to collect data on ambient noise. In the office you will learn about using different software programs and data organisation/processing.

Costs of food, accommodation, and limited work wi-fi will be covered during the research season. Research assistants will be responsible for their own travel to Exmouth, Western Australia (coach buses and direct flights from Perth are available). If you are interested, please provide a short CV (3 pages, including the emails of two academic referees) and a one-page cover letter in a single PDF to kate.sprogis at bios.au.dk<mailto:kate.sprogis at bios.au.dk>.

The application deadline is 23 May 2019.

Kate Sprogis, PhD
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Post-doctoral Fellow
Marine Bioacoustics Lab<http://www.marinebioacoustics.com/>, Dept. of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Denmark
kate.sprogis at bios.au.dk<mailto:kate.sprogis at bios.au.dk>
Twitter, Instagram: @KateSprogis

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