[MARMAM] Bottlenose Dolphin Project Research in Venezuela. Interns and Volunteer Program 2020.

Sergio Cobarrubia sergio.cobarrubia at gmail.com
Wed Jun 3 19:25:58 PDT 2020


The Laboratory of Ecosystems and Global Change (LEGC) of the
Venezuelan Institute of Scientific Research (IVIC, www.ivic.gob.ve) invites
the second season of internships-volunteering (2020) in the study of
coastal dolphins. LEGC is a scientific team that among its research lines
on the fauna of coastal and riparian ecosystems, it has established the
first one on aquatic mammals in Venezuela. On the other hand, Provita is an
important NGO that contributes to the research and conservation in

This research will begin with a project focused on sociobiology
(social structure, social networks and bioacoustics) of resident groups of
the coastal bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) in the central coast of
Venezuela. This, after an experience of 5 years in that locality studying
ecological aspects of T. truncatus (
https://doi.org/10.1007/s13364-018-0401-1). The coast of Aragua not only
home this species, but also the Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera edeni), the
common dolphin (Delphinus sp.) and the spinner
dolphin (Stenella longirostris). Of which basic information is collected

LEGC interns and volunteers are young, hard-working who are willing
to contribute to research by learning as they experience fieldwork in
teams, field techniques for collecting and processing data and
methodologies. All team members and interns share academic space, housing
in the Institute, housework in the study area, knowledge and experience in
a friendly and multicultural environment.

The internship consists of three weeks: The first week
of theoretical-practical introduction (24 theoretical hours and 16
practicals hours) at the IVIC Ecology Center (
www.ivic.gob.ve/es/investigacion-3/centros-31/ecologia-316). The second
week of seven field surveys for data collection (42 h) on the Cata Bay
(Aragua state) and the third week for data processing and analysis at the
IVIC Ecology Center (40 h). The volunteering consist of the second and
third weeks.

Theory: LEGC, Center of Ecology (IVIC) Miranda State, Caracas (10 23 N -
66 58 W).

Practice: Cata Bay, western coast of the (rain forest) National Park
Henry Pittier, Aragua state (central coast of Venezuela) 150 km from
Caracas (DC) (10 29 N - 67 44 W).

PROGRAM: Interns (Three weeks), Volunteers (Two weeks).

1st WEEK (LEGC-Ecology Center, 40 hours. For Interns).
- Monday: What is a cetacean? The cetaceans and the human in
history. Origin, evolution and diversity. Adaptations for aquatic life:
Anatomy and Physiology. Life histories. Biogeography Distribution. Ecology
Behavior. Conservation.
- Tuesday: Identification of species reported for Venezuela.
Basic logistics for the study of cetaceans on the mainland, sea and air.
Basic equipment to collect information.
- Wednesday: How to detect cetaceans and record an effective
sighting? Basic data to collect during a sighting, calibration and use of
GPS. Configuration and use of the SLR cameras. Download of sightings (GIS).
Download pictures and selection (software).
- Thursday: Daily encounter ratio. Photo-identification as a tool
for ecological and behavioral studies. Estimates of abundance.
Local distribution and areas of action.
- Friday: Residential patterns. Behavior (deployments, states,
daily budget). Habitat use. Social structure and social networks.
Saturday: Break.
Sunday: Transfer to the Cata Bay.

2nd WEEK (Cata Bay-Provita, 42 hours. For Interns and Volunteers). The
field surveys will be carried out in a fishing vessel of 9 m in length by 2
of beam, no roof. The field work will depend on the climatic
conditions, however, the Aragua coast offers few climatic inconveniences
throughout the year. There will be 7 mornings of field surveys in the week,
after each survey is lunch, rest and then proceed to download the data of
sightings and then interpret them preliminarily and discuss them. We
recommend wearing a long-sleeved shirt, cool pants, hat and sunscreen
(30-50 PF).

In the field surveys, it will be implemented:
- The identification and recognition of the elements of the
marine landscape and the method of tracking and detection of cetaceans.
- Ethical navigation mode to study cetaceans.
- The basic data collection / sighting.
- Use of GPS.
- Use of SRL digital camera.
- Counting of individuals and composition of a group.
- Identification of the behavioral states that configure group behavior
and its recording.
- Use of hydrophone.
- Identification and counting of birds.
-Identification and counting of vessels and other antropic objects.
In the afternoon the information of the sightings will be downloaded:
- Sighting forms.
- Latitude and longitude.
- Photographs and their selection.
- Voice recordings (behavior).
- Recordings of vocalizations.
- Shark whales sightings.
- Birds sightings.
- Vessels and anthropic objects sightings.

3rd WEEK (LEGC-Ecology Center, 40 hours. For Interns and volunteers).

Accommodation (IVIC students residence and apartment in Cata Bay), food and
transport (airport-IVIC-Cata Bay-IVIC-airport) are paid. The cost of
internships is US $ 720 for the compensation of logistical expenses of the
field surveys. For more information, please
contact:sergio.cobarrubia at gmail.com. There is also the opportunity for
6-week internships and two field survey sessions (1,250 USD). The logistic
cost for volunteers is US $ 500.
*Ask all your questions, especially to mitigate concerns regarding
Venezuela. Since our nation is the object of an intense media campaign
where opinion matrices project false dystopian scenarios.*

During the year there will be 6 internships-volunteering
sessions (February, April, June, August, October, November). For interns,
second, third and fourth week of the months scheduled. For volunteers,
third and fourth week of the scheduled months.

4 people / session.

Not included in the rate:
- Meals in restaurants
- Free time activities
- Personal insurance (all participants must have health and / or
travel insurance)
- Personal expenses.

- Being over 18 years
- Iterns: Preference will be given to undergraduate students
and professional students (biology, marine biology, environmental,
conservation and plus).
- Volunteer: No preferences.
- Have a mature attitude towards the investigation of marine mammals
and environment.
- Be autonomous and flexible.
- To be able to live and work in an international team and mainly
outdoors in the sea
- Speak Spanish, English or Portuguese.

The LEGC will certify the work performed by intern or volunteer through a
diploma with the recognition of the hours (academic-practical) worked.

Applicants must write to sergio.cobarrubia at gmail.com with the subject

You will be sent a confirmation email with all the details about the
study area and the species present, the practices and requesting your CV
resume, motivation letter (small statement about what your expectations are
and why you want to work with LEGC) and the internship month of your choice.

Applications will be accepted throughout the year, however,
early application is recommended due to limited vacancies.

PLUS: The possibility of making one-day expedition to the pelagic habitat
is opened, this other expedition will allow us to watch Atlantic spotted
dolphins, spinner dolphins or pilot whales.

*Sergio Enrique Cobarrubia Russo*
Laboratorio de Ecosistemas y Cambio Global
Centro de Ecología
Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas
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