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A sea of smiling faces at a workshop for DRI research interns to kick-off 2020. Pictured from left, Mandy and Jacqui (Education team), Will, Bruce, Fiona, Bec, Lily, Danny, Jess, Jack, Jeff, Ellie, David (Research Officer) and Meaghan. (Franc, Leanne and Heather were away).

The purpose was to share the projects they are working on and to discuss new opportunities to help on a new Western Port project and with the Two Bays Whale Project during “whale season”.

Bruce (blue shirt) is also joining us to assist with these programs in his retirement after 40 years at Monash Uni.

The students are a combination of undergraduates with formal internships and postgraduates looking for volunteer experience. They come from Melbourne Uni, Monash Uni, LaTrobe Uni, RMIT Uni and James Cook Uni.

The projects include:

Dolphin Health. Extending work on the digital tool we developed to describe and quantify lesions on dolphin skin. We believe skin health is connected to both the health of dolphins and the health of their environment. SkinMap is the only tool that we know of to measure skin health, so getting the tool right offers to make a significant contribution to dolphin conservation.

Two Bays Whale Project. Helping to monitor the movement of whales in our waters during the “whale season”. This includes educating the public at the Island Whales Festival.

Western Port Dolphin Study. A program developed by 2019 interns to answer important questions about resident dolphins in Western Port. Students will pilot the project and help to iron out bugs. We will then open it up to the wider community to become involved as a citizen science program.

“Bay Match”. This is a fun online community engagement project to find your perfect match from nearly three dozen residents of the bay. Are you a graceful whale or a scavenging seagull, a coral or a spider crab? Lily and Jack started on this last year and will finish it before they start their respective travels. They had to research all the animals and work out the logic for the series of questions to get your best match. Stay tuned for the launch in about Autumn.

We are privileged to have such a talented and energetic group of students to work with us in 2020.

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