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

DMAD Marine Mammals Research Association info at dmad.org.tr
Wed Nov 29 06:05:58 PST 2023


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

The project focuses on monitoring the migrating humpback whales in
Tanzanian 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, they arrive yearly to
Tanzania’s waters for breeding activities, and are observed off Mnazi Bay
marine protected area from July to October. Tanzania is witnessing the
remarkable recovery of these charismatic baleen whales after the severe
depletion of the population by industrial whaling. Despite being the most
studied species globally, there is very little research conducted in
Tanzania, leaving a considerable data gap, which prevents an effective
conservation status assessment. The current project aims to enhance
information on the 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 crucial data gaps
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 open for the
fixed period of 3 weeks starting early August 2024.



REQUIREMENTS

- A 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; living in a camp with limited
facilities;

-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 field 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 whale sightings (as well as other cetaceans), behavioural,
acoustic and photo identification data, alongside environmental and
anthropogenic data;

-Operating various equipment including cameras, hydrophone (commensurate
with skills and experience) and managing respective software programs
(Logger, Discovery, Pamguard, ArcGIS 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 $2,600, and will go
directly into funding the research project as well as covering the
amenities for the volunteers during their stay.



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 not 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, Indo
Pacific and Common Bottlenose dolphins, elusive humpback dolphins. There
are chances to encounter rarely seen in this region pelagic melon headed
whales and pilot whales, and if we’re lucky, other cetacean species.

·       Visit sand dunes.

·       Snorkel pristine coral reefs.

·       Visit Ruvuma Estuary and see hippos (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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