Portugal Cetacean Ecology Program

Albufeira, Portugal
May 18, 2018
Jun 15, 2018
Job Level
Entry level
Employment Type
Internship, Volunteer
Salary Type

Join the Marine and Coastal Ecology Research Center (MCERC) in their course to support the cetacean research of the Marine Environment Research Association (AIMM)!

Background on the partnering organizations: MCERC is dedicated to providing research and education opportunities aimed at increasing an investment in conservation and preservation of healthy marine and coastal ecosystems. Our programs and research projects are developed by qualified scientists and educators with an aim at creating dynamic opportunities for humans with a desire to participate in field based projects. MCERC scientists, interns, and students collect scientific data promoting a further understanding of the organisms in marine and coastal habitats.

AIMM, is a non-profit, non-governmental organization focused on the research and conservation of marine species, running an ongoing study of cetaceans in southern Portugal (Algarve). This project aims to obtain baseline information on species occurrence, behavior, and social structure of the local cetacean populations in order to obtain scientific data to support conservation measures and inform marine management policies.

Where: Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal

When:  July 15th to the 22nd

Deadline to apply: June 15th

Who may apply: This course is geared towards students, recent graduates and individuals over the age of 18 looking to gain field experience and skills in order to pursue a career in marine science.  Participants must be able to live and work with an international team, speak English, be able to stay for the full course duration, and spend long days in the field on a small boat in hot weather conditions. Prior experience in cetacean research is not needed.

Fieldwork: As a participating member of the research team for the week, you will be collecting data on cetaceans from a small boat, Ketos. The main species observed are Short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis), Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), and Harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena). Possible other species such as Minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) and Fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) may also be sighted. Students will be trained by MCERC and AIMM instructors to:

Conduct small boat surveys of marine species occurrence

Identify marine species in the field

Plan transect survey lines

Collect data on cetacean behavior, group size, etc.

Collect photos for photo ID

When at the research base, students will participate in scientific discussions of publications pertaining to the research project, learn the process of dolphin photo ID, conduct data analysis, and have the opportunity to partake in wildlife photography and ornithology lessons from an expert.

Course fee: MCERC and AIMM are non-profit organizations that rely on donations in order for research projects and experiential education opportunities to run successfully. The course fee is $1500 USD and covers transportation to the field site from the airport/ train station in Albufeira, meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner), accommodation in the research house, transport to the marina, photography lesson, ornithology lesson and a trip to conduct bird surveys, and fieldwork in the research vessel. Not included in the fee is transportation to/from Albufeira, meals in restaurants/ snacks, free time activities, personal insurance (all participants must have health and/or travel insurance), personal expenses. 

To register: Visit the Education Hub at marineeco.org, and go to the “Global Ecology Marine Series Programs” click on “G.E.M.S.- Portugal Cetacean Ecology Program” click on the course title the pops up below in the box, and create a profile, pay the fee and you’re registered. It is important to not book flights to/from Portugal, until the course is filled.

For further questions, please contact Heidi at Heidi@marine-eco.org.

We hope to see you in Portugal this summer!