[MARMAM] Allied Whale/Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co. Research Assistant Positions: 2024 Field Season

AW Internship Coordinator alliedwhale.internships at gmail.com
Fri Jan 19 07:14:01 PST 2024

Allied Whale Internship Program

Allied Whale (AW), the marine mammal research lab of College of the
Atlantic and Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co. (BHWW) seeks 4 interns/research
assistants for the 2024 field season. These are entry-level research
positions designed to offer experience for individuals seeking to develop
their professional careers in marine mammal research. One summer position
(May 15 through August 31) and three full season positions (May 15 through
October 15) are available.

 Overview of position: This is a unique internship program in that the
selected individuals will have the opportunity to participate and receive
training in a wide range of marine mammal research activities Allied Whale
while also working as a crew/scientist aboard commercial whale watching
trips operating from Bar Harbor, Maine. Allied Whale currently supports
field projects in the trophic ecology of humpback and fin whales, the
ongoing housing and maintenance of the North Atlantic humpback and fin
whale photo ID catalogs, an active stranding response program, and a
research/education partnership with Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co. In addition,
Allied Whale maintains the facilities on and conducts research from Mount
Desert Rock, a remote offshore island. The interns play a critical role in
the success of the field season and serve as support to all aspects of
summer activities within both Allied Whale and Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co.

Description of duties: Upon arrival in May, all interns will receive
research, boat crew, and Gulf of Maine natural history training by both
Allied Whale and the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company staff. As the Allied
Whale field season does not begin until early June- the first several weeks
will be focused on hands-on training of whale watch deckhand
responsibilities, helping with boat maintenance, and assisting with whale
catalog matching in the office or stranding response.

Once the season is in full swing, interns will rotate through shifts
working as a Research Assistant/Deckhand (RA) for the Bar Harbor Whale
Watch Co., shifts in the Allied Whale office, shifts at the Mount Desert
Rock field station, and time off. Every week, schedules will be different
and weather dependent. A typical week in June-August may include 2-4 days
scheduled as researchers on Whale Watch vessels, 1-2 days scheduled in the
office, and two days off (these days may or may not be consecutive).
Weather may cause shifts to be canceled and some weeks may be lighter in
load or responsibilities.

 Below are specific expectations for each designated shift:

Whale watch trips: Research responsibilities on the whale watch trips
include searching for whales, photo-identification of whales, and
behavioral data collection. RAs will also collect pelagic seabird data
during offshore travel to the whale feeding areas. Beyond research, RAs are
responsible for assisting the naturalist in promoting education and
conservation programs on each trip. In this, maintaining a positive,
professional, and friendly demeanor while engaging whale watch passengers
and fellow crew is necessary. Deckhand responsibilities include line
handling, vessel cleaning, helping seasick passengers, and passenger
safety. When whale watch trips cancel for weather, crew may be asked to
report for duty to complete maintenance on the vessel.

Allied Whale office shifts: On scheduled office days, interns will be
required to be available in the Allied Whale office from 9AM-4PM. During
those hours, interns will match individual whales to our catalog, enter
their whale watch data into the database, manage the Adopt-a-whale program,
answer phone calls to the office, and be on call for assisting with
response to strandings or necropsies. Interns schedule for office shifts
will also be on call for boat research days.

Allied Whale boat research days: When weather permits, interns will assist
Allied Whale staff and graduate students on trips offshore to collect
biopsy samples of humpback and fin whales. While on board one of the
research vessels, interns will be responsible for collecting photo
identification of whales and recording data. Interns will be responsible
for processing images from these trips. If schedule allows, RAs may also
participate in an overnight trip to collect samples in Canada.

Mount Desert Rock: We hope for interns to also complete several shifts
(each at least a week in length) at our offshore research station Mount
Desert Rock. While on the island, interns will participate in land-based
whale monitoring from the lighthouse tower, seal counts, gull counts, and
maintenance/construction projects at the station. Interns will also receive
experience working in a remote off-the-grid location. Once hired, RAs will
work to develop a collaborative group project (on seal colony, intertidal
community, nesting birds, jellies, etc.) and will take turns with data
collection during their shifts offshore. RAs will also stay in contact with
the BHWW office with sightings reports.

Pay/Housing: Those accepted to the program are able to earn income by their
work on the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company. Deckhands are paid $70 a trip
(at the height of summer, there are 2 trips running a day). Interns also
receive free First Aid Certification. Provided housing in downtown Bar
Harbor is mandatory for a fee. Rent for the season will total approximately
$2080 for summer interns and $2350 for full season interns. While at Mount
Desert Rock, food is provided for free. **After August 31, if any of the summer
interns are interested they are welcome to work full time for the remainder
of the season as crew for the BHWW as deckhand/galley on lighthouse trips,
nature cruises, whale watches, and cruise ship tendering operations.

Qualifications: Applicants should have a college background or be currently
enrolled in a biology, ecology, and/or marine sciences program. Previous
data collection experience in a research setting and/or knowledge of marine
mammals are great advantages. While training will be provided and no prior
boating/camera experience is required, time spent offshore or skills in
photography are also assets. Due to Coast Guard requirements, all crew
onboard US commercial vessels and therefore all research
assistants/interns, must be US citizens or have permanent resident alien
status.  Also, all interns will be drug screened prior to employment and
will be enrolled in a random drug testing program.  Most importantly,
applicants must be positive in attitude, flexible to quickly changing
schedules, able to work independently, and be seaworthy/comfortable working
on boats in rough weather. Lastly, because of the community living
situation both in Bar Harbor and on Mount Desert Rock, applicants must get
along well with others and be able to handle working in a team setting.

To apply: Please send a cover letter detailing your reasons for applying, a
resume, and two letters of recommendation via email to
AlliedWhale.Internships at gmail.com. Recommendation letters may either be
sent with the application or directly from the references.

Please specify which position you are interested in (summer or full-season).
Deadline of application is February 23rd.

Allied Whale and the College of the Atlantic are committed to inclusive
excellence. We strive toward an open and diverse community that fosters the
inclusion of voices that have been underrepresented or discouraged. We
encourage applications from members of groups that have been marginalized
or underrepresented in higher education. More information about the
college’s commitment and strategic plan for diversity, equity, and
inclusion can be found here: https://www.coa.edu/about/dei/

Amanda Liebau
Allied Whale Internship Coordinator
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