Swim with Humpback Whales (SWW) Project

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Swim with Humpback Whales (SWW) Project



This project will compare Australian and Tonga Swim with Humpback Whale (SWW) industries. Tongan SWW has been operating for over 20 years. The Australian SWW started in 2014.

There are major differences in these industries based on cost, tourist typology, legislation, codes of conduct, cultural understanding and staffing. This project will investigate all of the above plus tourist experience, prior knowledge, previous experience, conservation awareness and attitudes, and potential long term attitudes and impacts on whale conservation. In addition, the views of indigenous peoples maybe elicited in Tonga. Others aspects to be developed.

Students undertaking the project must commit to research in both Australia and in Tonga. There are a number of requirements set forth by the grant funding body and the research team. The successful applicant/s must be:

  • An Australian citizen (required by funding body)
  • Under 28 years of age when first enrolled in the Honours program (required by funding body)
  • Able to travel to Tonga during July and/or August 2015
  • Able to acquire a tourist visa
  • Able to swim competently, be comfortable in open water, able to use a snorkel, and to be in close proximity to whales
  • Able to fly from Brisbane
  • Up to date on any vaccinations that may be required
  • Must be culturally sensitive
  • GPA of at least 5.5

It is anticipated that the majority of the costs involved in the trip will be met by the grant and the University, however there will be expenses that the student will need to meet.

Should a student withdraw from the project or fail to receive credit for the work undertaken they are required by the Australian government granting body to refund the grant provided.

  • Australian SWW June/ July / August 2015
  • Tongan field trip (11 days) 27 July–6 August (proposed)
Students eligible
  • Tourism / Sustainability / Social science / Human geography / Planning (3)
  • Environmental science (1)

Other disciplines will be considered if their skills can be incorporated into the research.

Students must be able to undertake the project as a work place learning / research project or equivalent in each Faculty.

Selection process

Please submit a 250 word Expression of interest online form by 31 March outlining why you would like to work on this project. The application form is on the next page.

These applications will be reviewed by the research team and shortlisted applicants may be invited to an interview. The successful applicants will be notified soon after. Please direct any questions to Dr Sheila Peake.

Expression of interest form

Complete the Expression of interest online form before Tuesday 31 March 2015.

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