[MARMAM] UK based cetacean research internships

katrin.lohrengel at seawatchfoundation.org.uk katrin.lohrengel at seawatchfoundation.org.uk
Tue Jan 7 01:20:55 PST 2020

UK based cetacean research charity, Sea Watch Foundation, is looking to 
recruit seven Research Interns (RI), an Education and Outreach Assistant 
(EA), a National Whale and Dolphin Watch Assistant (NWDWA) and a 
Research Assistant (RA) for the 2020 summer season.

Positions are unpaid but accommodation is provided free of charge for 



Interns are invited to assist the Sea Watch Foundation (SWF) with the 
running of the “Cardigan Bay Monitoring Project”. The project is based 
in New Quay, West Wales, and supports the conservation management of the 
bottlenose dolphin, harbour porpoise and grey seal populations of 
Cardigan Bay, monitoring their abundance, distribution, reproductive 
success and population structure using a combination of vessel-based and 
land-based surveys. SWF has been monitoring these populations on behalf 
of the Welsh government (through funding provided by Natural Resources 
Wales) for over a decade. Cardigan Bay contains Britain’s largest 
coastal population of bottlenose dolphins, for which two Special Areas 
of Conservation have been established under the EU Habitats Directive.
Interns will help the Cardigan Bay Monitoring Officer and the Sightings 
Officer by taking part in the following tasks:

Land-based surveys
Boat-based surveys
Photo-identification matching
Data entry
Raising public awareness
Education initiatives and events
Assisting with and participation in training courses and other needs of 
the charity.
In addition to these tasks, we have some specialist equipment, two 
hydrophones and a drone, to opportunistically collect acoustic and 
aerial data during boat-based surveys. Sea Watch have also been 
contributing to a project to collect dolphin blow samples for population 
genetics and microbiome analyses. Interns interested in these subjects 
may also have the opportunity to assist in data collection for these 

Interns are required from early April until the end of October 2020. The 
research season is split into four separate periods, each lasting 7 
weeks. The research periods for the 2020 season are:

Period 1: April 13 – May 31
Period 2: June 1- July 19
Period 3: July 20 – September 6
Period 4: September 7 – October 25

Interns are expected to arrive on the first day of their chosen period 
and depart on the first day of the next period. Start and end dates are 
not flexible.

Preference will be given to those applying for more than one period.

Interns will be based in New Quay, Ceredigion, West Wales. Accommodation 
is provided by a private landlord through rental of a house that interns 
share at a rate of around £74 per person per week. Rooms are shared 
between two or three people, with a total of nine people in the house at 
any given time. Please be aware that while all effort is made to 
accommodate interns in single gender rooms, in some cases it might not 
be possible. If you have a strong preference, please indicate so in the 
application form and we will try our best to accommodate this. Interns 
are responsible for their own travel, accommodation and living expenses, 
but it is generally quite easy to obtain part-time paid work in the area 
if required.

Important skills/qualifications


an ability to work independently in a meticulous and reliable manner
strong commitment to volunteering work
willingness to work long hours outdoors in often changeable Welsh 
good IT skills (Office package)
an ability to get on well with others in a small team and in shared 

a strong interest and knowledge of British cetaceans
a background in marine biology/environmental science or similar
prior experience in boat-based survey work
good verbal and written communication skills and in public speaking
experience in interacting with the public
All interns will be trained in cetacean observation and identification, 
in boat survey protocols, and photo-identification of bottlenose 

Normal office hours are from 10:00 to 17:00 hrs but field work regularly 
falls outside these hours, particularly land-based watches which take 
place throughout the day in two hour shifts from 07:00 to 21:00. Interns 
will sometimes be scheduled onto ‘early’ and ‘late’ shifts to 
accommodate these. Line transect surveys are all day surveys and will 
typically start in the early morning hours and run for at least 8 hours.

Prospective interns should be aware that they will be contributing to 
ongoing, established research projects that routinely inform government 
agencies on the status of cetaceans in the UK, and accordingly are 
expected to take the internship seriously and prioritise it over 
extra-curricular activities. Working in a small NGO environment in a 
tight knit team can be a challenging experience and requires a high 
degree of flexibility, tolerance and a positive attitude. After initial 
training, interns will often be expected to work in the absence of 
direct supervision so the ability to work independently and maintain a 
positive, proactive outlook is essential.

Internships with Sea Watch have frequently led to established posts in 
national and international research and conservation bodies, as well as 
providing a stepping stone for students to undertake doctoral studies in 
marine mammal science.

International applications are welcome but it is the applicant’s 
responsibility to ensure visa requirements are met and we ask applicants 
to highlight their chosen visa option in their application. Please note 
that Sea Watch Foundation is unable to sponsor visa applications for 
Research Interns.

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