[MARMAM] Allied Whale and BHWW Co. Research Assistant Positions: 2019 Field Season

Tanya Lubansky tlubansky at coa.edu
Wed Jan 23 05:30:41 PST 2019

Allied Whale (AW), the marine mammal research lab of College of the
Atlantic and Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co. (BHWW) seek 5 interns/research
assistants for the 2019 field season. These are entry-level research
positions designed to offer experience for individuals seeking to develop
their professional careers in marine mammal research. Two summer positions
(mid-May *through* August 31st) and three full season positions (mid-May
*through* October 31st) are available. *College of the Atlantic students
can receive flexibility in start and end dates.

*Overview of position*: This is a unique internship program in that the
selected individuals will have the opportunity to participate and receive
training in a wide range of marine mammal research activities while
receiving income when working as a crew/scientist aboard commercial whale
watching trips operating from Bar Harbor, Maine. Allied Whale currently
supports field projects in the trophic ecology of humpback and fin whales,
the ongoing housing and maintenance of the North Atlantic Humpback Whale
Catalog and fin whale photo-ID catalog, an active marine mammal stranding
response program, and a research/education partnership with Bar Harbor
Whale Watch Co. In addition, Allied Whale maintains the facilities on and
conducts research from the Mount Desert Rock Marine Research Station
situated on a remote offshore island. The interns play a critical role in
the success of the field season and serve as support to all aspects of
summer activities within both Allied Whale and Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co.

*Description of duties*: Upon arrival in May, all interns will receive
research, boat crew, and Gulf of Maine natural history training by both
Allied Whale and the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company staff. As the Allied
Whale field season does not begin until early June- the first several weeks
will be focused on learning whale watch deckhand responsibilities and
performing humpback whale photo-ID with the NAHWC in the office or
stranding response.

Once the season is in full swing, interns will rotate through shifts
working as a Research Assistant/Deckhand (RA) for the Bar Harbor Whale
Watch Co., shifts working as dock attendant for the Bar Harbor Whale Watch
Co., shifts in the Allied Whale office, and time off. Every week, schedules
will be different and weather dependent. A typical week in June-August may
include two days scheduled as researchers on Whale Watch vessels, two days
scheduled in the AW office, one day scheduled as dock attendant for the
BHWW, and two days off. Weather may cause shifts to be canceled and some
weeks may be lighter in load or responsibilities. Interns will also rotate
through week-long shifts on Mount Desert Rock.

*Below are specific expectations for each designated shift:*

*Whale watch trips: *Research responsibilities on the whale watch trips
include searching for whales, photo-identification of whales and behavioral
data collection. Deckhand responsibilities include line handling, vessel
cleaning, helping seasick passengers and passenger safety. RAs are also
responsible for assisting the naturalist in promoting education and
conservation programs on each trip. Maintaining a positive, professional,
friendly and outgoing demeanor while engaging whale watch passengers and
fellow crew is compulsory. When whale watch trips cancel for weather, crew
may be asked to report for duty to complete maintenance on the vessel.

*Dock attendant duties: *Dock attendants are critical for the daily smooth
operation of boat trips at the BHWW Co. Attendants assist in security
screening, loading passengers onto boats, tying boats to docks as trips
depart or return, delivering lunches to crew on boats, pumping gas for
visiting vessels, and communicating trip schedule changes to the public.
These shifts are not dependent on weather.

*Allied Whale office shifts: *On scheduled office days, interns will be
required to be available in the Allied Whale office from 9AM-5PM. During
those hours, interns will compare individual whales to the NAHWC catalog,
enter their whale watch data into the database, manage the Adopt-a-Whale
program, and answer phone calls to the office. Allied Whale’s stranding
program is responsible for responding to all dead or stranded marine
mammals in northern Maine, primarily seal species. Interns will be on call
to assist with field stranding response and to participate in necropsies
(animal autopsies). Interns scheduled for office shifts will also be on
call for boat research days.

*Allied Whale boat research days: *When weather permits, interns will
assist Allied Whale staff and graduate students on trips offshore to
collect biopsy samples of humpback and fin whales. While on board one of
the research vessels, interns will be responsible for collecting photo
identification images of whales and recording data. Interns will be
responsible for processing images from these trips.

*Mount Desert Rock*: We hope for interns to complete several shifts (each
at least a week in length) at our offshore research station Mount Desert
Rock. While on the island, interns will participate in land-based whale
monitoring from the lighthouse tower, seal counts, gull counts, and
maintenance/construction projects at the station. Interns will collect
weekly samples of seal scat to contribute to a collaborative microplastics
project.  Interns will also receive experience working in a remote
off-the-grid location.

*Pay/Housing*: Those accepted to the program are able to earn income by
their work on the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company. Deckhands are paid $50
per trip (at the height of summer, there are 2 trips running a day) plus
considerable tips. Interns also receive a free First Aid Certification and
TWIC card from the BHWW Co. Provided housing in downtown Bar Harbor is
mandatory for a fee. Rent will be approximately $375 a month for a bed in a
shared room. While at Mount Desert Rock, food is provided for free. The
BHWW Co. also provides funding for RAs to attend the annual North Atlantic
Right Whale Conference in New Bedford, Massachusetts in November.

*Qualifications*: Applicants should have a college background in biology,
ecology, and/or marine sciences. Previous data collection experience in a
research setting and knowledge of marine mammals are great advantages.
Prior experience offshore and skills in DSLR photography are also assets.
Due to Coast Guard requirements, all crew onboard US commercial vessels and
therefore *all research assistant/interns, must be US citizens or have
permanent resident alien status.* Also, all interns will be drug screened
prior to employment and will be enrolled in a random drug testing
program. Applicants
should be physically and mentally fit: able to lift and carry 50 pounds,
comfortable around dead and decomposing animals, and able to hike up to 5
miles carrying gear for stranding response. *Most importantly, applicants
must be positive in attitude, flexible to quickly changing schedules, able
to work independently, and be seaworthy/comfortable working on boats*.
Lastly, because of the community living situation both in Bar Harbor and on
Mount Desert Rock, applicants must get along well with others and be able
to handle working in a team setting.

*To apply*: Please send a cover letter detailing your reasons for applying,
a resume, and two letters of recommendation to: Dr. Tanya Lubansky (
tlubansky at coa.edu). *Letters may be sent either directly from the
references or by the applicants.

*Please specify which position you are interested in (summer or
full-season)*. Deadline of application is *February 22nd*.
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