We are looking for Research Interns, a Research Assistant and Education Assistant for our 2023 research season! We are looking for individuals who are interested in gaining knowledge on how to monitor the abundance, behaviour distribution, reproductive success, population structure of the bottlenose dolphin, harbour porpoise and grey seal populations of Cardigan Bay.
Please read individual role descriptions carefully before applying as they differ significantly from each other, each requiring varying lengths of commitment as well as different levels of experience in areas such as research, team management and public awareness work. All roles are unpaid, however, accommodation is provided for the Research Assistant free of charge and for Education Assistant at a subsidised rate. If you’re new here, here is a little bit about what we do here at Sea Watch Foundation.
About the Sea Watch Foundation
The Sea Watch Foundation is a national marine environmental research charity that aims to achieve better conservation of whales and dolphins in the seas around Britain and Ireland, by involving the public in scientific monitoring of populations and the threats they face. It is the longest-running research charity in UK focusing upon cetaceans around the British Isles, and maintains a national sightings database, the largest in Europe. It works closely with all the UK statutory conservation agencies, and advises UK government, the UNEP Regional intergovernmental Conservation Agreement – ASCOBANS, the European Commission, as well as the major conservation charities and marine industries operating in the UK.
At Sea Watch Foundation, we are dedicated to raising awareness, knowledge and conservation of the marine wildlife of the region. Our work is funded by the Countryside Council for Wales, Defra, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, and Environment Wales; and we work closely with the local management authority, Ceredigion County Council.
Our internships 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.
We aim to raise awareness and understanding of the importance of the local marine wildlife and the habitats supporting them, to encourage respect and conservation of the area and its wildlife for future generations. We also run training courses for the public in cetacean identification and survey methods.
We run two citizen science events each year, Orca Watch (June) and National Whale and Dolphin Watch (July-August). These events aim to get the public involved with our research and create ‘snapshots’ of the cetacean abundance on our UK coastlines.
A list of recent of recent awareness and education achievements is given below:
- Sea Watch Director, Peter Evans, received the European Cetacean Society Conservation Award, 2012
- Sea Watch Foundation was recipient of the UNEP/ASCOBANS “Outreach and Education Award”, 2009
- Sea Watch Foundation was voted best UK animal adoption scheme by BBC Wildlife, December 2008
The purpose of our research here is to monitor the marine mammal populations inhabiting Cardigan Bay, so as to gain information to aid the conservation and long-term well being of these animals and the local marine environment. This is achieved by conducting various projects including:
- Estimating the abundance and distribution of bottlenose dolphins, harbour porpoises and grey seals within Cardigan Bay using distance sampling and opportunistic boat surveys
- Maintaining and updating a catalogue of photographically identified bottlenose dolphins in Wales in order to study their abundance, social structure, movements and life histories
Each year we recruit interns to assist with our Cardigan Bay Monitoring Project and other attributes of our work in New Quay, West Wales. Interns help in the field with vessel-based and land-based surveys as well as helping to complete office-based tasks such as photo-identification of dolphin fins, data entry, raising public awareness and assisting with training courses.
Our Research Interns live together in a shared house in New Quay and are required to stay with us for an entire research season – eight weeks between April-October 2023. Preference is given to those who are applying to stay for more than one research season.
This role is an excellent opportunity to gain field experience, work within a team and build your skill set for a career in marine science. See below desired skills and qualifications although all interns will be provided with adequate training in cetacean observation and identification, boat survey protocols and photo-identification.
- Strong commitment to volunteer work
- An ability to work independently in a meticulous and reliable manner
- Willingness to work long hours outdoors in changeable Welsh weather
- An ability to work well within a small team, and in shared accommodation (shared cleaning rota etc.)
- A background in marine biology/environmental science
- Great verbal and written communication skills and in public speaking
Find out more about our Research Intern positions here and how to apply here. Deadline for application is 29th January 2023.
Research Assistant and Intern Coordinator
We are looking for a Research Assistant & Intern Coordinator to assist with the running of our Cardigan Bay Monitoring Project. The successful candidate will be based in New Quay, West Wales and help to support the conservation management of the bottlenose dolphin, harbour porpoise and grey seal populations in Cardigan Bay.
Our RA also coordinates our interns both within the office and the shared house, making work and cleaning rotas. We are therefore looking for someone with a high degree of interpersonal skills, able to work as a team player and maintain positive relationships and team morale within a tight knit group. Previous experience working in a similar role is essential.
There is an opportunity to undertake a personal research project and submit work for scientific publication and presentation at the European Cetacean Society Conference. The RA position is unpaid but (shared) accommodation is provided free of charge and they are entitled to one week’s paid holiday. Preferably RA should be available for entire season (April-October).
- Completed BSc (or higher) in biology, marine biology, zoology, chemistry or related field and able to demonstrate previous experience in previous marine mammal research
- A strong interest in British cetaceans
- Some experience using DSLR cameras
- Practical experience of photo-identification and other equipment (e.g., drone and hydrophone)
- Scientific experience in use of Access and GIS would be advantageous
- Self-motivation, determination and ability to work independently in this varied role
To find out more and apply for this position, head to our website to find out more. Deadline for applications is 15th January 2023.
Education and Outreach Assistant
Based in our Visitor and Education Centre (open April-October) we are looking for a new Education and Outreach Assistant. This individual will work alongside out Communication and Outreach Officer to deliver engaging education and outreach activities in New Quay and beyond. We are looking for a self-motivated and outgoing individual to bring new, inspiring ideas to this position.
Our EA runs the Visitor and Education Centre, keeping it tidy and presentable to all visitors. They aim to raise the local profile of Sea Watch Foundation as a charity, working with local boat operators and businesses within New Quay to organise events and produce educational materials.
This role is a real opportunity to develop your skill set, gaining experience in public speaking, delivering educational programs and working within a small team. The EA will also be assigned a new intern each week to train and help with any duties. The EA will also managed social media (including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok) and our website in conjunction with our Communication and Outreach Officer.
The field season will run from April to October 2023 and the EA is expected to stay for at least half of the season (choosing Period 1-2 or 3-4) although staying the entire season would be beneficial. The EA lives in our shared intern accomodation at a subsidised rate.
- A strong interest in marine conservation and education
- Outgoing and confident with experience in public awareness
- Some experience working with children/young people
- Public speaking
- Experience with social media (Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube)
- Experience making videos for YouTube, Instagram etc.
- Ability to work in busy periods and multitask
- Good IT skills
- Dedication to this volunteer role
To find out more about our EA position and how you can apply, head to our website. Deadline for applications is 17th February 2023.