Masters Research Opportunity in Cetacean Ecology

20th Aug 2007 GMIT in collaboration with the Shannon Dolphin and Wildlife Foundation have recently advertised a MSc on "Acoustic techniques for the conservation management of inshore dolphin populations".

We propose to carry out research to provide essential information for the conservation management of bottlenose dolphins in the Shannon estuary, which contains a resident population supporting an eco-tourism industry catering for 15-20,000 people per annum, and is set to expand. However, the Shannon estuary is also the centre of expanding commercial development. We will investigate dolphin use of different parts of the estuary throughout the year using acoustic devices. This will allow the prudent management of the tourist resource and planning of other development to minimise adverse effects.

Dolphins in Irish waters are frequently caught and killed in fishing nets. Measures to avoid the by-catch of dolphins currently are focused on the use of acoustic deterrents (pingers), which have shown very variable responses when tested in the field. We propose to examine the sound repertoire of bottlenose and common dolphins to determine whether these highly sophisticated animals have alarm signals, which might have deterrent effects when emitted from fishing gear. This work is in collaboration with BIM.

The successful candidate will hold an honours degree (minimum 2:2) in Zoology, Marine Biology, Marine Science or related discipline. A current driving licence and own car are essential as there is a significant element of fieldwork involved in the project. Sea going experience in small vessels and knowledge of cetaceans as well as good computer and analytical skills are desirable.

Application forms (which must be forwarded by post with a CV) are available at:

http://www.gmit.ie/research/vacancies.html or phone: +353 (0)91 742754

http://www.gmit.ie/research/july07-acoustic-dolphin.doc