[MARMAM] Humpback whales research in southern Tanzania – Mnazi Bay Ruvuma Estuary Marine Park

DMAD Marine Mammals Research Association info at dmad.org.tr
Tue Jun 6 00:14:19 PDT 2023


*Humpback whales research in southern Tanzania – Mnazi Bay Ruvuma Estuary
Marine Park*

The project focuses on the monitoring of the migrating humpback whales in
Tanzania waters, using variety of methods, including systematic small boat
surveys with data collection on distribution, behaviour, group cohesion,
photo identification and acoustics, in strategically selected areas.

The Humpback whale (*Megaptera novaeangliae*) - is a cosmopolitan species
which undertake extensive annual migrations, and yearly arriving to
Tanzania waters for breeding activities, and are observed around the
Archipelago of Zanzibar from July to October. Tanzania is witnessing a
remarkable recovery of this charismatic baleen whale after the severe
depletion of the population by industrial whaling. Despite being the most
studied species globally, there has been very limited research conducted in
Tanzania, leaving a considerable data gap, which prevents a conservation
status assessment. The current project aims to enhance information on
species ecology, population structure, connectivity, abundance estimates,
distribution, migration patterns, habitat use and breeding ecology by
conducting pertinent research that began in 2018.

By participating in the research, you’ll help to bridge a crucial data gap
for better understanding of the conservation status of the subpopulation
which will assist conservation strategy development in the region.

WHO WE ARE LOOKING FOR



We offer a limited number of volunteering placements for the 2023 season,
that will take place in southern Tanzania with the research base in the
heart of the Mnazi Bay Ruvuma Estuary Marine Park (MBREMP) – the most
biodiverse seascape of the region and a cetacean hotspot. Selected
volunteers will participate in the small boat surveys off MBREMP, where
migration is taking place, and will assist collecting visual and acoustic
data on humpback whales, gaining practical experience and theoretical
knowledge from reputable cetacean experts. Placements are opened for the
fixed period of 3 weeks starting mid-July 2023.



REQUIREMENTS

-Genuine interest in marine conservation, integrity, self-motivation,
maturity and ability to work responsibly;

-Physical fitness and mental endurance enabling sustaining long hours out
at sea in sometimes challenging conditions;

-Ability to cohabit in a dynamic and multicultural environment in a remote
location;

-Respect for the project's rules and work ethics, willingness to adhere to
the standards and protocols;

-Fluency in English (both spoken and written) and good communications
skills;

-Willingness to learn new software applications and filed techniques;

-Ability to handle equipment responsibly and with due care;

-Background in marine biology and previous fieldwork experience are an
advantage;



FIELD WORK AND RESPONSIBILITIES



-Participating in small boat-based surveys daily (total number of surveys
is contingent on weather, but +- 10 surveys should be expected).

-Collecting whales sighting, behavioural, acoustic and photo identification
data, alongside environmental and anthropogenic data;

-Operating various equipment including cameras, drone, hydrophone
(commensurate with skills and experience) and managing respective software
programs (Discovery, Pamguard, QGIS etc.);

-Data entry and basic analysis;

-Cataloguing and matching individuals of target species for photo-ID
studies via Discovery software;



TRAINING



The Nyangumi Tanzania team provides lectures and field work training as
well as constant mentoring. You will be given the chance to learn the most
popular methodologies used in marine mammal research including:

-GIS mapping

-Photo-identification;

-Discovery, Darwin and Logger 2010 software;

-Systematic data collection and data analysis;



PROJECT CONTRIBUTION



The project contribution for the 3-week placement is $2,500.



The contribution covers the cost of participation in the project and
includes:

-Accommodation in a tented camp in the heart of the Mnazi Bay Ruvuma
Estuary Marine Park;

-Basic meals;

-Training and lectures with a copy of the lecture on PDF;

-Fieldwork (daily boat surveys, up to 10 surveys);

-Use of the equipment (subject to respective skills).



Applicants are responsible for their international flights to/from Tanzania
and internal flights to Mtwara, extra meals nit included in the field work
period, insurance (all participants must have health and/or travel
insurance), visa and personal expenses.



In the beautiful and remote location of the Mnazi Bay, you’ll have
opportunity to:

●        Encounter cetaceans including Risso’s and Spinner dolphins. There
are chances to encounter the rarely seen in this region pelagic melon
headed whales.

●        Visit sand dunes.

●        Snorkel/dive coral reefs (diving at extra cost).

●        Visit historical sites in the area (at extra cost).



HOW TO APPLY



Email your CV and cover letter to nyangumiznz at gmail.com, copying
info at dmad.org.tr, explaining why you are a suitable asset for our team and
which goals you hope to achieve with us.
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