Sharks, skates and rays in the offshore region and coastal zone of Scotland – shark tagging database developer

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Announcement of Opportunity The MASTS Community Project SIORC announces a 3-month paid internship to overhaul a database on shark tagging data. The project is jointly funded by the MASTS Coastal Zone and Fisheries Fora. The internship is a unique opportunity to work with Scotland’s leading angling community the Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network (SSACN), SIORC, and MASTS to enhance SSACN’s tagging database and increase user uptake for improved conservation and management of elasmobranchs.

Background Catch-and-release of sharks by sea anglers allows valuable data to be collected such as species, sex, size, and location, and recaptures yield data on migration, growth, health, and fidelity to an area. Between 2000 and 2016, the UK Shark Tagging Programme (UKSTP) built up over 17,000 data entries, the ownership and management of which has been transferred to the Scottish Shark Tagging Programme (run by SSACN) and the two data sets now need to be merged and standardised to maximise its utility for science, conservation and management of elasmobranchs. Data are mostly from 3 species of high value to anglers, including tope, blue shark and smoothhound. SSACN understands that anglers could be incentivised to continue to donate data if they could see their data being used and valued. The first step in addressing this issue is to overhaul SSACN’s dataset into a format that enhances user uptake.

Internship  The intern will receive training about angling data, sharks, and the database from SSACN and SIORC. The intern is expected to work at his or her own workplace 2-3 days/week fulltime on the project, and submit weekly updates and monthly progress reports to SIORC and SSACN to be shared with the Coastal Zone and Fisheries Fora. The intern will be tasked with standardising the database, producing a new online Google Earth tool and presenting the cleaned up database and map product at a dedicated MASTS half-day workshop that the intern will lead. The intern will be paid a fixed amount of £1,000 per month for 3 months, with payment upon receipt of a deliverable at the end of each month. Start date is flexible but anticipated to be 1 January 2017.

To apply Applicants must be affiliated to a MASTS institute (MASTS alumni included). Preference will be given to students and early career researchers. No experience with sharks is necessary, but interns must have strong skills in ArcGIS or QGIS, Google Earth, database management, working independently and must be confident public speakers.

Please send a letter of interest, your cv, and supporting statement from your supervisor allowing you to undertake the internship to SIORC co-ordinators, Dr. James Thorburn (j.thorburn@gmx.co.uk) and Dr. Lea-Anne Henry (l.henry@ed.ac.uk).