Valissa Buchanan

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MSc Candidate


Water Corporation of Western Australia is undertaking the construction and operation of a 100GL (per annum) reverse osmosis seawater desalination plant beginning construction in the year 2009. The Binningup Beach Mega-Fauna Line Transect Project was instigated to obtain baseline information on the marine mammals in the vicinity prior to the plant operations commencing. The long term goal is to preserve the balance between economic growth, conservation of marine environments and sustainability of local tourism, port industries and development.

The plant is to be located near the Binningup Waste Water Treatment Plant, off Taranto Road, north of Binningup in the South West of Australia. The area to be surveyed extends 9.5nms south of Binningup and 9.5nms to the north. Plus when weather permits a survey will be conducted even further north off Preston Beach.

Project Aims:

  • Document abundance of bottlenose dolphins in the survey area.
  • Investigate seasonal residency and movement patterns on bottlenose dolphins in the study area.
  • Document critical habitats for bottlenose dolphins with the study area.
2009 – current: Primarily carrying out standardised line transect boat surveys in the vicinity of Binningup Beach, obtaining baseline information on bottlenose dolphin identity, location, environment and activities to determine habitat preference, abundance and residency/movement patterns. Plus we are monitoring the seasonal presence or absence of any other cetaceans, pinnipeds, turtles and penguins.

1998: Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) University of Auckland

2009 Marine Radio Operators VHF Certificate of Proficiency (MROVCP)

2009 Mark Software Statistical Analysis Workshop – Southern Cross University

2009 Restricted Coxswain & Recreational Skippers Ticket

2009 Open Water Diver (PADI)

2008 Senior First Aid

2008 Project Jonah Marine Mammal Medic Course

2004 Commercial Cross Country Flight Test – Passed

2003 Commercial Pilots License Theory Subjects

2002 Private Pilots License Theory Subjects

1999 ISO 14001 TELARC Course – NZ Quality College ‘Environmental Management’ Client Seminars by Woodward-Clyde ‘Science for Sustainability’ Workshop by Auckland Regional Council

Employment History

Tenix Alliance : Site Engineer 2008-2009

AMX Design : 3D Draughting 2008

Voluntary Work

MUCRU: Research Assistant volunteering for Holly Smith (PhD candidate) on her PhD research: Dolphin Population Biology in Koombana Bay, South Western Australia

Bunbury Dolphin Discovery : Beach / Swim Tour Volunteer

Coast Care Bay of Plenty : Dune Replanting & Weeding

Forest & Bird : Beach clean ups / Tree planting


Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand
Project Jonah New Zealand Marine Mammal Welfare & Protection Organisation

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