Sharks are one of the most threatened group of animals in the oceans, but sharks living in the safety of even the best protected marine parks are not immune to climate change. Today, many shark species are threatened because they have characteristically slow life histories (late maturity, long pregnancies, and few offspring) that make them slow to adapt to human-induced and environmental stress. Understanding how climate change might affect a shark’s ability to perform tasks relating to their survival and ability to reproduce will be crucial for conservation measures to better protect sharks.

In 2014, Dr Jodie Rummer began the #physioshark project in collaboration with the Centre de Recherche Insulaires et Observatoire de l’Environnement (CRIOBE). Physioshark focuses on populations of newborn blacktip reef and sicklefin lemon sharks that use nursery areas around the island of Moorea, French Polynesia. The goal of this research is to understand how sharks can perform under the already challenging conditions in the tropics, and how well sharks might perform in coming decades with climate change. Since its inception, #physioshark has supported numerous postgraduate research students, and is currently run by Dr Rummer and PhD student, Ian Bouyoucos.

For the 2017-18 season, we are looking for one volunteer to assist in data collection in the field and laboratory and to help expand the outreach of the #physioshark project. The ideal candidate would be available for three months between November 2017 and February 2018. Daily tasks would include helping collect newborn sharks from nursery areas around Moorea, water quality monitoring of nursery areas, caring for and feeding sharks in the laboratory, and helping with design and set-up of experimental equipment.

Applicants must: 1) be able to work in a small team with continuous contact for three months, 2) be comfortable living in a high-intensity working environment in a small, remote research station community, and 3) bring skills to expand the #physioshark project’s outreach. Preferably, applicants would have experience handling small sharks, can speak basic French, and/or have exceptional photography, video, and/or communications skills.

This position is unpaid, but we will provide support for return trip flights to Tahiti if needed as well as accommodation at the CRIOBE. The volunteer will be responsible for their own food, but the station cooks communally on rotation, making it quite inexpensive. To apply, please send a cover letter and curriculum vitae to by 1700 (AEST) on 1 September 2017.