PhD student looking for interns/volunteers in Australia – Christmas Island flying-fox

Hi everyone,

For my research on the Critically Endangered Christmas Island flying-fox, I am looking for research interns or volunteers for my fieldwork on Christmas Island.

The Christmas Island flying-fox is the last remaining, indigenous mammal on Christmas Island, a remote beautiful and ecologically unique part of Australia. However, Christmas Island’s biodiversity is under threat from anthropogenic change, evidenced by the extinction of two native rat species, and the only two mammal extinctions in Australia in the last 50 years.

The CIFF was listed in January 2014 as Critically Endangered under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999. The latest population estimates suggest there are only 1369 ± 534 individuals remaining, and if the causes of decline are not identified and remedied, it too will become extinct. The precipitous decline of the CIFF has serious implications for Christmas Island’s endemic flora and fauna as its role in seed dispersal and pollination is critical for maintaining the health of the island’s unique ecosystems.

My research focusses on the social organisation of the Christmas Island flying-fox and its implications on conservation. Activities will include working in remote locations of the island, capturing and processing bats, making behavioral observations and using camera traps.

– Must be enthusiastic, highly motivated and able to work as part of a team
– Be vaccinated against Rabies/Lyssavirus to assist with capture/handling of CIFF and collection of biological samples
– Be capable of working in remote locations, for protracted periods of time, under difficult conditions including terrain and hot humid climates
– Be able of carrying a 20 kg pack for distances of up to 4km
– Knowledge and experience with capturing and handling of bats and specifically flying-foxes would be a distinct advantage, as would experience with Excel, ArcGIS, R, and processing of wildlife acoustic recordings (SM2 acoustic recorders).

I’ll be conducting fieldwork regularly the coming three years, with the first field season commencing this summer. If you are interest please contact me at a.dorrestein@westernsydney.edu.au, or look on https://www.animalecologylab.org/annabel-dorrestein.html for more info!