Marine Mammal Research & Conservation Projects
The Aegean Sea is one of most important marine biodiversity hotspots in the Mediterranean, supporting key populations of cetaceans (dolphins and whales), Mediterranean monk seals and sea turtles (green, loggerhead and leatherback).
Archipelagos’ Marine Mammal Research Team uses the equipped sailing boats “Pinelopi”, “Naftilos” and "Oceanos", as well as the research boat “Aegean Explorer” and the speed boat “Asterias” to monitor the regional status of marine mammal and sea turtle populations and their habitats in the Aegean Sea, an area where data relating to these species is largely deficient. During day-long or multi-day, research trips the team gathers data on species populations and their respective threats, aiming to fill these knowledge-gaps, identifying critical habitats, while also quantifying human and environmental impacts.
This internship consists of both field work and office work, which will provide interns with valuable skill sets in data collection and equipment use, as well as data analysis and report writing - skills necessary for a professional career in marine mammal research, marine conservation and environmental management. Boat-based surveys are conducted throughout the year depending on the weather conditions. Surveys take place on our research vessels: Aegean Explorer (22m motorboat), Naftilos (15m sailing boat), Pinelopi (16m sailing boat), and Oceanos (12m speedboat). On these vessels, interns are involved in a variety of ongoing research projects, including:
- Cetacean presence, abundance, distribution and behavioural studies (BORIS software) through boat-based surveys.
- Species distribution, residency patterns and social structure using mark recapture photo-ID techniques.
- Passive Acoustics Monitoring of cetacean species and anthropogenic noise, using a broadband towed Hydrophone array (320m) and stationary hydrophone. PAMGuard and Raven Pro software are used for data analysis.
- Presence, abundance, distribution and behavioural analysis of Mediterranean monk seals and sea turtles.
- Monitoring and assessing coastal and floating marine litter.
- Monitoring and assessing interactions with fishing boats and other commercial or recreational boats
- Monitoring and assessing seabird populations at sea.
- Response and sampling of stranded marine mammals and sea turtles.
- Analysing microplastic content in marine animal’s digestive systems.
These projects provide field-work and hands-on research opportunities for under-graduate and post-graduate students, as well as for researchers looking to gain field-research experience, producing a thesis or to collect data for scientific publications (you can view Archipelagos researchers' scientific publications that interns contributed to, here). This internship provides skills and expertise, valuable for a professional career in marine mammal research, marine conservation and environmental management. When not conducting surveys, interns have the opportunity to conduct independent research projects, for university credit or for a thesis/dissertation.
This internship program is available for students, graduates and researchers of marine, ecological and environmental sciences and/or veterinary medicine.
Applicants must be able to work both independently and as part of a dynamic, multicultural, multidisciplinary team. During multi-day expeditions, the research team lives on the boat, so applicants must be able to live in tight quarters for several days at a time.
Additional skills required:
- Excellent organizational and time-management skills
- Capacity for accurate and consistent data collection and analysis
- Ability to write scientific reports and papers
- Fluency in English
- Sincere desire to work towards Archipelagos’ conservation efforts
- Motivation to live in a small island community with simple facilities
Internship duration normally ranges between 3 - 12 months, although shorter or longer internship periods may be arranged to cover the needs of groups or individuals.
Archipelagos’ research bases and stations are in the Eastern Aegean Sea, on the islands of Samos and Lipsi as well as onboard the research vessels. Interns often move between research bases and boats depending on where the surveys will take place.
As a non-profit research institute, the internships we offer are unpaid. This educational/research experience requires a monthly fee of 650 Euro to cover living expenses, the cost of training, use of research equipment and travelling with the research vessels, use of the office facilities, as well as insurance.
For internships of less than 3 months in duration the participation fees are raised to 780 Euro per month.
Please note that travel costs to and from the research base are not included in the fees and are covered by the participant.
Students and recent graduates and researchers are advised to search for possible funding through their universities, by getting in touch with the International Office/ Placement/ Erasmus+ Offices at their Universities or other relevant grant providing organizations in their region.
How to apply
To apply, please send a motivational letter and your CV (resume) to firstname.lastname@example.org requesting an application form.