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Anatomy of a killer whale predation event

Summary / Description


We are doing an extensive analysis of data gleaned from literature regarding killer whale predation on marine mammal prey.  The goal is to better understand the role of killer whales as successful apex predators, in terms what is the cost of hunting or failure to capture prey. Ultimately, the study seeks to describe the link between killer whale social frameworks, individual fitness, and their ability to influence ecosystem structure and function.

Your duties and responsibilities will include:

  1. Review every killer whale article involving predation attempts/captures of marine mammal prey (primarily whales, dolphins, and pinnipeds)
  2. Complete an extensive spreadsheet of data fields that include for example, killer whale  attack group sizes, attack area, # of predation attempts, outcomes – failures, successes, mixed outcomes; prey species and group size, attack depths, KW pod composition, and prey type- calf, adult, juvenile, female.
  3. Prepare datasheet for subsequent statistical analysis
  4. Summarize results and help in preparation of manuscript.

Skills Required

  1. Ability to carefully review journal articles, book chapters, and reports and synthesize information into spreadsheets
  2. Detail oriented, organized, and methodical
  3. Understanding of fundamental concepts of animal behavior and ecology
  4. Excellent communication and writing skills. Responsive to emails and assignments.
  5. Knowledge of MS Excel or databases, and statistical tools (optional)

Other Information

Internship Location: NMFS Office of Science and Technology, Silver Spring, MD.

Intern Supervisor: Mridula Srinivasan / Number of slots available: 1

Related State(s):
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