miércoles, 3 de febrero de 2010

Volunteering: Capricorn Cetaceans Project!

The Capricorn Cetaceans Project is currently accepting applications for volunteers,interns and research assistants for the Australian winter season from June to September 2010.

The Capricorn Cetacean Project started in 2006 as part of Cagnazzi Daniele PhD study. The primary aim of this project was to study inshore dolphin species primarily on two threatened species the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin and the Australian snubfin dolphin in the Southern Great Barrier Reef, from Gladstone to Shoalwater Bay,
Queensland Australia. With the years this project evolved including studies more species.

Field work include daily coastal surveys, coastal expedition and reef expeditions. Coastal daily surveys will be conducted on a 6m center console vessel, due to the extension of the study area launching points vary depending on the weather and surveys needs. Costal expeditions will be organized to survey the most remote areas, several hundred km away from any human activity. These expeditions will last between 4 and 5 days, during which we will sleep in a camp set up on unexploited beaches where with some luck we will fish our dinner. Reef expedition (50 miles away from the coast) will be done with a 13m long 5 star powered catamaran with all the comforts.

Nights will be spent within the lagoons of breath taking coral islands (Lady Musgrove, Lady Elliot, Heron Island and Fitzroy Reef) that will be possible to explore during the afternoon at the end of the work day. Snorkeling is also possible and worthwhile,and as I am a diving instructor upon interes we can organize some dives too.

During field work we will applied standard technique normally used in cetaceans studies and we will also collect skin samples using a biopsy pole and a PAXARM biopsy system.

These are the major projects on which we will be working:

- Modelling habitat suitability of coastal dolphins along the QLD coast

- Population genetics and phylogeography of Australian snubfin and humpback dolphins in Australian waters: defining appropriate management units for conservation

- Taxonomic status and ecology of a undescribed form of spinner dolphin "pigmy spinner dolphin" (Stenella spp) from the Capricorn Bunker group, Southern Great Barrier Reef.

- Use of non-destructive toxicology biomarkers and residue analysis to assess the toxicology status of humpback dolphins (Sousa chinensis) and snubfin dolphins (Orcaella heinsohni) in Australian coastal waters

- Estimating population size of inshore dolphins species in Central Queensland using DISTANCE techniques.

Furthermore we will continue with the collection of data from all cetaceans species sighted during our surveys, such as dugongs, offshore bottlenose dolphins, inshore bottlenose dolphins, spinners dolphins, humpback whale, Minke whales and False killer whales. We will also continue collecting photo-id data on humpback and snubfin
dolphins to increase accuracy of population estimates and to estimate population trend.

While on land the team will share a house in Yeppoon a nice costal town in Central Queensland, accommodation including internet and power is free,while we will share the shopping costs for the food.

The possibility of an internship will be evaluated directly with the interested person.

Volunteers are not required to have any previous experience except for a profound interest in cetaceans and a background in marine studies or similar. Application from volunteers for less than 2 months will not be considered.

One research assistant position is also available and potential candidates are required to stay for the full four months. Research Assistant need to have previous experience with boat handling and field work studies. The successful applicant will have the food costs plus a weekly reimbursement to discuss directly with me.

Interested applicants should forward a letter and their CV directly to me dcagna10@scu.edu.au

For more detailed information do not hesitate to contact me

Daniele Cagnazzi
PhD
Southern Cross University Whale Research Centre
Southern Cross University
2480 Lismore NSW Australia
PH: +61 0266203815
FAX: +61 0266212669