PROJECT: Population abundance, structure and habitat utilisation by bottlenose dolphins Tursiops sp in Binningup and adjacent waters.

I am seeking skilled research assistants for field work that will commence in June 2009. Assistants will help me in collecting behavioural data in the field on the bottlenose dolphin population off the southwest coast of Western Australia. The field work begins in June 2009 and will continue to June 2011. Fieldwork will be based just north of the coastal town of Bunbury, approximately 2hr drive south of Perth.


The project aims to ascertain the population size and structure of the dolphin population in the Binningup region and determine the residency patterns of the population. It will identify critical habitats for dolphins for particular behavioural activity states and determine drivers of these. As this area is zoned for the construction of a desalination plant the project will also investigate the potential displacement effects of the construction and operation of the plant. This will assist in establishing the long-term viability of the population.

FIELD WORK: All observations and data collection will be conducted from a 5.7m centre console boat equipped with a 100HP engine. Assistants should be prepared to work long hours with early starts Aboard the research boat assistants will be required to assist in boat handling and data collection and be expected to participate in the following duties in the lab: data entry, fin-matching, and database/catalogue maintenance. Field work is physically and at times mentally demanding but you will have the opportunity to observe and gain hands-on experience in relation to survey techniques, photo-identification, behavioural observations and improve existing skills. This experience will be most useful to students or anyone hoping to pursue a career in behavioural ecology or population biology.


1. Enrolled in or completed a degree in biology, marine science, animal behaviour or a related field

2. Previous field experience with marine wildlife (photo-identification and boat handling skills would be advantageous but not a prerequisite).

3. Be enthusiastic, team oriented, have a positive attitude and good sense of humour as well as a genuine interest in marine mammal science.

4. Be adaptable and patient as fieldwork is highly weather dependent. This means office based work during bad weather and long consecutive days in the field when weather permits and fieldwork will vary between weekends and weekdays.

5. Be prepared to work long days in a small vessel in small team of 3 people

6. Be able to commit for a minimum of 1 month (though applicants willing to commit for longer will be preferred)

Regrettably I am unable to provide monetary compensation or living provisions and research assistants will be responsible for travel to Perth or Bunbury and their own living expenses. Pickup from Perth may be possible but is dependent on arrival time.

If you are interested, please provide a short CV and cover letter attention of Dee McElligott ([log in to unmask]).


Dee McElligott, BSc hons


Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research Centre

School of Biological Sciences

Murdoch University, Western Australia

Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia

Mob: + 61 406 499 443

Email: [log in to unmask]



2 Ph.D. Positions Available
Sperm Whales and Tourism - Kaikoura, New Zealand

I am currently seeking two Ph.D. students to investigate interactions between sperm whales and tourism off Kaikoura New Zealand over the next 2.5 years (field research to begin August, 2009).† Both positions include logistical support, equipment, housing, and a modest expense budget for field work.† Position 1 will be a research vessel-based project, focusing on photo-identification and surface behavioral responses of whales to tour vessels.† Position 2 will combine shore-based monitoring and monitoring from onboard tour vessels and aircraft to examine behavior and movements.

Minimum Qualifications (both positions):
1. Bachelorís degree and relevant scientific research experience.
2. Ability to work effectively, both independently and cooperatively, as a member of a research team.
3. Ability to take responsibility as a research leader.
4. Ability to communicate and work effectively, responsibly, and respectfully with a diverse group of community stakeholders.
5. Ability to conduct physically demanding field work at sea and on land.

Preferred Qualifications (both positions):
1. Masterís degree in a relevant field
2. Demonstrated academic excellence
3. Experience with GIS, database, and statistical software

Additional Qualifications:

Position 1 (vessel-based research) Additional Minimum Qualifications
1. Extensive boating experience, including a minimum of 6 months (750+ hours) working on commercial vessels and/or 3,000+ hours on recreational vessels
2. Ability to conduct research from a small vessel on the open sea.

Position 1 (vessel-based research) Additional Preferred Qualifications:
1. Skipper Certifications: New Zealand MSA Boat Master, Local Launch Operator, Inshore Launch Master, or equivalent.
2. New Zealand Radiotelephone Operatorís Certificate or† equivalent
3. Water safety, first aid certifications
4. Photo-identification experience and/or other high-speed SLR photography experience
5. Experience studying cetaceans from a research vessel.

Position 2 (shore-based research) Additional Preferred qualifications:
1. Experience with shore-based monitoring of cetaceans
2. Experience with a surveyorís theodolite

To apply, send an email with your last name in the subject line and the following attachments to:

Dr. Tim Markowitz
Sperm Whales and Tourism Research Team Leader, Kaikoura, New Zealand
School of Biological Sciences, University of Canterbury

email: [log in to unmask]

1. A letter which clearly states which position(s) you are interested in, and summarizes your academic and scientific background, work experience, research interests, and how you meet the qualifications listed above
2. A copy of your CV
3. A list of at least 3 professional references with contact information
4. Unofficial undergraduate and graduate transcripts and/or a list of university courses taken and grades.

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until two candidates have been selected.


Courses & Experience in Marine Mammal Husbandry, Training & Research Offered at Dolphin Research Center

Dolphin Research Center announces August 2009 career training courses in Animal Care & Husbandry, Training & Enrichment as well as Cognitive and Behavioral Research with Marine Mammals.

For more than 20 years Dolphin Research Center has been offering courses teaching individuals about marine mammal husbandry, behavior modification and research. Not only do the courses provide extensive knowledge, but also hands on experience in the field of marine mammal care and training.

All About Dolphins: Basic DolphinLab August 15-21, 2009
Marine Mammal Cognitive and Behavioral Research DolphinLab August 22-28, 2009
Marine Mammal Care and Basic Training DolphinLab August 29-September 4, 2009

All of our hands on, career oriented DolphinLab courses are college accredited. Each course accrues 3 credit hours with the Florida Keys Community College which are transferrable to most colleges and universities. The completion of all DolphinLab courses earns students a college issued certificate in marine mammal behavior and training. The certificate designates the individual as having basic knowledge and experience in the field of marine mammal care and training. Note: while students can opt for credit, courses do not have to be taken for college credit.

Course topics include but are not limited to: Marine mammal husbandry, marine mammal medical care and pathology, behavior modification and training through operant conditioning, anatomy, physiology, maternity, population management, habitat and maintenance, environmental enrichment, cognitive and behavioral research methodology, design and implementation, dolphin acoustics and communication, marine mammal law and conservation

Animal experience includes but is not limited to: Meal preparation, medical assists, animal handling and behavior modification, animal presentation and narration delivery, cognitive research design and implementation, behavioral observation and research, animal enrichment design and implementation.

To learn more about the individual course itinerary, costs and registration please visit under "Visit Dolphin Research Center" and go to the "DolphinLab" section of the website. Or contact us at [log in to unmask] or (305) 289-1121 ext 225.