Volunteers requested for Australian humpback whale project ~ Bioblogia.net

30 de junio de 2011

Volunteers requested for Australian humpback whale project

Project: A playback study to determine if humpback whales are utilizing
active or passive acoustic cues for orientation during migration.

Position: Unpaid volunteer

Dates: 3 August-4 September, 2011

Location: Point Lookout, North Stradbroke Island, Queensland, Australia

Project Summary:
We are conducting an experimental study of humpback whale orientation
mechanisms at Point Lookout on North Stradbroke Island near Brisbane,
Australia. Humpback whales pass very close to shore at this location during
their northern migration from Antarctica to the Great Barrier Reef. We will
conduct playbacks of several different sound stimuli in order to determine
if the whales are utilizing active or passive acoustic cues to orient
themselves in the marine environment during migration. Playbacks will be
conducted from a small vessel. The whales will be monitored from shore
during playbacks for changes in course or behavior.

Volunteers are needed to conduct land-based visual observations of the study
whales from a cliff site overlooking the playback location. Volunteers will
assist in selecting appropriate whale groups for the experiment. Utilizing
a surveyor’s theodolite they will monitor the location and behavior of each
surfacing of the whale group for the duration of each playback.
Participants will rotate duties between visual observations utilizing
binoculars, tracking of whales utilizing a theodolite and monitoring
sighting locations and behaviors on a laptop. There will opportunities for
volunteers to participate in boat work and aid in conducting playbacks.
Volunteers will be expected to participate in full days of observations with
rotation of responsibilities and breaks between playback groups. There will
usually be one or more days off per week due to bad weather.

Qualifications: The project is well suited to upper level undergrads, recent
grads and graduate students who have some background in science.
Participants should be keen to gain experience in cetacean survey techniques
and playback experiments. While previous experience in survey techniques is
desired, it is not required. The main criteria for applicants are an
interest in cetacean surveys and an ability to concentrate for several hours
at a time while working in a small group. Due to the training required
applicants should be available for the entire project time period.
Volunteers will need to provide their own transportation to the study site
(accessible by public transportation from Brisbane international airport).
However, once they have arrived at the study site all food and accommodation
will be provided for the duration of the project. Participants must be able
to live and work well with a small group of people (6-9) for extended
periods of time. Cooking and cleaning duties will be shared and meals will
be communal.

Applicants should email a letter of interest outlining relevant experience
and motivation for participation, as well as a CV and the contact details of
two professional references to Ann Allen at anallen@whoi.edu. Applications
will be accepted until all volunteer positions are filled.

This project is funded by the National Geographic Committee for Research and
Exploration and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

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