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Volunteer Observer Needed For Dolphin Research

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  • 1. Volunteer Needed for help in dolphin research Would you like to be a volunteer observer on a whale and dolphin research project in Trinidad and Tobago?If interested please read on for details on the research, requirements and job description. You maycontact Alësha Naranjit for further information or questions by emailing alesha.r.n@gmail.com orcalling 391-4745 (if you do not receive an immediate answer it may be that I am offshore for thatweek and will respond when I return).The research  A line transect survey for whales and dolphins is being conducted off the east coast of Trinidad from aboard a 50m offshore, live-aboard vessel  The project aims to give us a better understanding of species presence, distribution and density in this area  During the survey 2-3 observers search the surrounding water for whales/dolphins while the vessel travels or waits in certain areas  Environmental, effort and cetacean (whale and dolphin) data are taken during the surveys  Data collection is expected to last from 2012 to 2014 but may be extended depending on logistical and volunteer support  1 or 2 week long trips will be conducted each month during the research period  This research is part of a University of the West Indies MPhil research project conducted by Alësha NaranjitThe animals  There are 19 species of whales and dolphins which have been recorded in the waters of Trinidad and Tobago. You will have the opportunity to see some of these species and perhaps be involved in the confirmation of new species as this is a new field of study locally.  You may also have the opportunity to see animals such as sharks, turtles, mahi mahi, swordfish and seabirds during the survey.What does an observer do?  Search for whales and dolphins from aboard the research vessel  Record data on environmental conditions and observer effort  Record data on any whales or dolphins observed including number, species and behaviour  Volunteers will be rotated to cover each of the research trips (you may be needed for 1 trip a month or 1 every 2 months and we will arrange the rotation of volunteers based on observer availability)
  • 2. Requirements Observers must:  over 18 years of age  be available for week-long research trips (overnighting on the vessel offshore) at least once a month or once every two months over the research period (or at least the next 6-8 months)  not be easily seasick or be able to work though mild seasickness if it occurs  be able to work 12 hour days (with rests between several 1-2 hour observation sessions)  be able to work for at least 2 hours standing in hot sun (with appropriate sun protective clothes eg hat, long sleeved shirts etc)  be enthusiastic about the research and remain interested and focused even if no animals are seen for several days (in the past 6 months dolphins have been seen on every research trip but often there are days with no sightings)  be able to use software such as Word and Excel (basic use)  be tolerant of minimal privacy (as life on a boat offers little privacy)  be able to work well in a team and take instructions from team leadersWhat is provided for observers?  Training in data collection, equipment use, search techniques, cetacean identification and vessel life.  A (shared) room, three meals a day, snacks and drinks (non-alcoholic) on board the research vessel for the duration of the research trip  The vessel has running hot and cold water, toilet/shower facilities, laundry facilities and electricity (for lights, tv, computers, charging equipment etc)Please note:  You will not be paid for working as an observer, this is a voluntary position  You will not have access to internet and will have limited phone access while on the vessel  You will need to provide your own transport to and from the research vessel  You will need to provide your own health insurance  You will need to pass an offshore medical which includes general health, hearing and eye tests (you can be wearing prescriptive lenses) drug and alcohol tests  You will need to help raise funds to pay for offshore safety certification, offshore medical certification and personal protective equipment (if you do not have these and we are unable to find funding to pay for them).

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