[MARMAM] Internships on short-finned pilot whale photo-identification in Madeira

Philippe Verborgh philippeverborgh at yahoo.fr
Tue May 14 06:41:50 PDT 2019

Dear Marmamers,
Apologies for cross posting.
This is an offer for 2 internships on short-finnedpilot whale photo-identification in Madeira.
Host: Madeira Whale Museum


Madeira Whale Museum’s aim is to generateknowledge on cetaceans and the marine environment. Such as the census of the cetaceanspecies that live in the sea of Madeira, as well as to assess the occurrence,frequency, distribution and activities that they perform.

For that purpose field work in Madeira inshorewaters will be made to collect observational data on cetaceans as well asimages for photo-identification. Data will be organized and processed foranalysis, and preliminary analysis of sightings’, effort and photo-id datacollected in the field will be made.

The Madeira Whale Museum has a photo-identification database of short-finned pilot whales since 1997around Madeira Islands. A catalogue exists and covers the whole period until2018, however new pictures have been made available and so far, onlyindividuals with notches on the trailing edge of the dorsal fin has been made(primary marked individuals). Part of the large population using the waters ofMadeira are resident and further demographic parameters could be obtained fromthose specific social groups where calves and juveniles could be identifiedfrom secondary marks (i.e., scars, fin shape or colouration pattern). 



Internship 1: To collectsighting and photo-identification data at sea and update the local catalogue ofprimary marked short-finned pilot whales.      

Internship 2: To collectsighting and photo-identification data at sea and create a new catalogue ofsecondary marked short-finned pilot whales.



·        Theintern will go on a whale watching boat 2 days per week to collect cetaceansighting data, photo-identification data and note compliance with localregulations. 

·        Theother days of the week will be spent in the Museum to process the collecteddata and help with photo-identification task.



The necessary equipment and training for the field work will be provided(species identification, camera, GPS, binoculars, datasheets, etc), dataorganization and processing (PC) will be provided by the institution. Access toplatforms of observation, either whale-watching boats or research vessels fromthe institution or partner institutions will also be provided.

By the end of theinternship, the trainee will be able to:

·        Identify inthe field the cetacean species present in Madeira archipelago;

·        Collectobservational data from sightings, environmental parameters and effort,organize it and process it for analysis;

·        Collectphoto-id data in the field, organize it and process it to be added to the localphoto-id catalogues.


·        Motivated towork at sea, sometimes in difficult conditions, depending on the weather

·        Commit to aminimum of 2 months

·        Show interestand willingness to learn

·        Be patient andorganized

·        Speak English with a preference for applicants who know basicPortuguese.


The work will take place at the Madeira WhaleMuseum in Caniçal, Madeira, Portugal. The student will be responsible for histravel to and from Madeira, housing and food. The MWM can sign internshipagreements with Universities.

Supervision: Ruth Esteban, Philippe Verborghand Luis Freitas

How to apply:

Send a CV and motivation letter to PhilippeVerborgh at the following email: philippeverborgh at museudabaleia.org

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