Post-Bac Opportunity – Aug-Dec 2023 Field Research Assistant Positions
Eligibility: You must have or will have received a baccalaureate degree between May 1, 2021 and August 1, 2023, and not yet have completed or be enrolled in any course of postgraduate study.
The Shark Bay Dolphin Research Project (SBDRP) is seeking several dedicated research assistants for the upcoming field season (late July/early August through mid-December 2023) in Monkey Mia, Shark Bay, Western Australia. The SBDRP is a long-term research project run in collaboration between Georgetown University and the University of Queensland, and is one of the longest running marine mammal research projects in the world. The SBDRP has been collecting behavioral, life-history, ecological, and genetic data on Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins since the mid 1980s. This field season will focus on continuing our research on maternal investment and social learning, in addition to our routine long-term population monitoring efforts. If you are interested in working for the lab long-term, particularly if you are interested in graduate research at Georgetown with Dr. Janet Mann please clearly indicate this in your interest statement.
Field work is demanding and requires long hours both on and off the water, but the dolphin research is both fun and rewarding. Field assistants will gain valuable research experience and may have the opportunity to contribute to co-authored publications. We particularly encourage applications from those interested in pursuing graduate school in behavioral ecology or marine mammalogy.
Monkey Mia, Shark Bay, Western Australia.
Monkey Mia is approximately 850 km north of Perth and is part of the largest World Heritage site in Western Australia. Our field site is beautiful, and includes incredible wildlife such as sharks, rays, turtles, dugongs, whales, and of course, resident bottlenose dolphins. Monkey Mia is remote, but we do have amenities including electricity and running water, reliable cell phone service, and limited internet. Housing will be provided, and the research team will share cooking responsibilities in a communal kitchen and other domestic chores.
Research assistants will help collect extensive behavioral data from the boat, including surveys and focal follows on individual dolphins. Boat work is dependent on weather, but even on windy days we need to be ready to pack up and quickly get out on the water if the wind drops. Days on the water can be consecutive, long, and tiring in variable environmental conditions. Days on land require extensive, and tedious, data entry and processing. If you are interested in an independent research project, we will work with you to develop one. It may be helpful to review our recent publications to get a feel for our lab’s work.
Most of your time will be spent:
-Searching for and spotting dolphins
-Driving the boat
-Scribing data during surveys and focal follows
-Entering dolphin sightings and environmental data into the computer
-Doing basic maintenance and equipment prep and cleaning
The ideal candidate will be a graduating senior or post-baccalaureate with a science background and a genuine interest in marine mammal science and behavior. This position is well suited for students of marine biology, animal behavior, zoology, ecology, genetics, or similar fields looking to gain additional analytical and in-field experience. Applicants must be able to work closely with a small team (3-6 people). We not only work together, but also live, cook, and eat together, so maturity, sense of humor, a positive attitude and a collaborative nature are critical.
The candidate must:
-Possess basic computer skills
-Be detail oriented, flexible, level headed, and patient
-Possess excellent verbal and communication skills
-Work well both independently and in a team
-Be fluent in English
-Be comfortable on a boat and working in a remote location
-Be prepared to work long, consecutive days, including weekends
The most essential qualifications are that you are flexible, conscientious, and hard-working, and are excited about the research.
This is a paid position. All travel and living expenses (flights, visas, housing and food) will also be covered by the project. We particularly want to encourage candidates from groups that are underrepresented in STEM fields to apply.
If interested, please apply through our google form:
The form will be open from March 20th-27th 2023 and will close at 11:59pm EST on the 27th. Any questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.