[MARMAM] Short term boat based cetacean research

Volunteer Coordinator (HWDT) volunteercoordinator at hwdt.org
Sun Apr 9 09:00:48 PDT 2006

Dear All

The Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust have some spaces remaining throughout the season for research assistants on our boat-based research project. We also have some last-minute spaces running April 15th-21st, and would like to offer these at a 1/3 discount to MARMAM members. 

The project involves monitoring the waters of the Hebrides with a view to understand the habitat preferences of cetaceans in the area. We use a combination of visual and acoustic monitoring methods - using standard protocol for visual surveys, towing specialised hydrophones and recording images for photo identification. The project is for 7 days and is entirely boat based on our 53ft yacht Silurian - all training and accommodation is provided on board.

The coastal waters of southwest Scotland, warmed by the north Atlantic drift are important and productive marine habitats. The transition from southern warmer waters to northern cooler waters in this area is reflected in the great diversity of marine species here, including a large variety of cetaceans. Many of the cetacean species dwelling in this area are considered to be of a conservation priority at a National, European and International level (e.g. harbour porpoises, bottlenose dolphins, beaked whales and baleen whales). In addition to these, the seas of western Scotland are also inhabited by grey and common seals, basking sharks and a number of sea birds including sea eagles, gannets, shearwaters, petrels, cormorants, guillemots and puffins. 

The HWDT team together with over 100 research assistants have spent the last 3 years surveying the Argyll waters, investigating cetacean distribution, abundance and identifying hot spot areas for further study. A summary of this survey - written in 2005 - can be viewed on our website in the research pages. 2006 and 2007 will continue this survey conducting further investigation into these hot spot areas.

If you would like to join us - either in April for a discounted price of £300 for the 7 day research course - or later on in the season, or would like to find out more about the project, then please contact me on volunteercoordinator at hwdt.org / 01688 302620 or look on our website at www.hwdt.org.

Fiona Quarmby

HWDT Volunteer Co-ordinator
28 Main Street
Isle of Mull
PA75 6NU

01688 302620
volunteercoordinator at hwdt.org
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