This one seems like a great opportunity for “beginner” marine mammalogists/biologists. Details below.
Two research assistants are required to assist with a PhD study investigating common dolphin ecology (Delphinussp.) in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. This PhD project is part of the ongoing research of the New Zealand Common Dolphin Project (NZCDP) and the Coastal-Marine Research Group (C-MRG) at Massey University Albany, Auckland. (http://cmrg.massey.ac.nz).
Growing interest in observing and swimming with free-ranging cetaceans has contributed to a rapid growth ofdolphin-based tourism operations. The PhD project aims to examine distribution and habitat use of common dolphins in the East Coast Bay of Plenty and assess the effects of interacting activities on both populations. Part of the study focuses on photo-identification in order to assess common dolphin site fidelity in the Bay of Plenty.
March – September 2013. A minimum commitment of 3 months is required. Priority will be given to candidates who can commit for longer periods.
Tauranga, New Zealand
RESPONSIBILITIES & FIELD WORK OPPORTUNITY:
Analysis of photo-identification data, including assistance with photo sorting, grading, and matching, sighting data entry, maintenance of long-term photo-id catalogue using a MS Access database. Research assistants should be prepared to work long days analysing photographs and matching them with the photo-identification catalogue.
Opportunistically, the candidate will be able to join the team on the field and learn environmental and behavioural data collection for cetaceans. Surveys will be conducted from tourism boats. Surveys will be carried out in the coastal waters of Tauranga. Fieldwork is weather dependent and can vary between weekdays and weekends.
Assistants need to be available FULL-TIME (including WEEKENDS and PUBLIC HOLIDAYS if on the field) and be prepared to work on computer 6-8 hours per day.
This position is suitable in the framework of a degree, with the opportunity to write up a report/thesis for the candidate university/school.
. Be meticulous, reliable, adaptable, hardworking and patient.
. Have a mature and independent attitude towards marine mammal research.
. Speak fluent English
. Be sociable, enthusiastic and have a positive attitude
. Strong interest in the marine environment and conservation
. Previous experience in photo-ID on small cetaceans will be considered.
. The project is well suited to upper level undergrads, recent grads and graduate students who have some background in Biology, Marine Biology, Ecology, Zoology or related fields.
. Basic computer proficiency in Microsoft Office (especially Excel and Access)
Preferred qualifications but not required:
. Field research including photo-identification experience
. Previous experience in survey techniques and especially in marine mammal research
. Prior experience working on small research vessels
This is a volunteer position, so there is unfortunately no monetary compensation or living provisions. However, help can be provided to find accommodation. Assistants will be responsible for travel to Tauranga and their own living expenses.
Applicants should email a letter of interest outlining relevant experience and motivation for participation, as well as a CV and the contacts for referees to Anna Meissner
Early application is recommended as applications will be examined in order of reception.
Anna M. Meissner
Coastal-Marine Research Group
Institute of Natural and Mathematical Sciences
Private Bag 102 904
North Shore City, 0745
Auckland, New Zealand