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Field Internship

The Sri Lankan Blue Whale Project, the flagship project of Oceanswell, is looking for qualified students to fill our upcoming internship positions. Interns will assist with fieldwork on blue whales, education programme development, social media and outreach. See below for the complete details.

The Sri Lankan Blue Whale Project is the first and longest running research project on blue whales of the Northern Indian Ocean. The research and conservation work conducted through this project has been featured on BBC, The New York Times, TED, National Geographic, CNN, GOOD, and the New Scientist.

FIELDWORK:

The volunteer position entails assisting during field surveys and analysis of photo-identification (photo-id). The successful applicant will gain valuable experience in conducting marine mammal field research, identifying individuals based on dorsal fin and fluke characteristics, and the use of databases for archiving field data.

Field work is physically and at times mentally demanding but it is a great opportunity to gain knowledge in visual cetacean surveying, to get hands-on field experience in relation to survey techniques, photo-id, behavioural observations, and improve practical skills.

Assistants need to be available full-time including weekends and be prepared to work long hours with early starts.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Assisting with; boat-based photo-id surveys from a small vessel and collecting video based behavioural data.
  • Analysis of photo-id and behavioural video data in the lab; including assistance with photo sorting, grading, and matching of photos, maintenance of a long-term photo-id catalogue, identifying behavioural events on video, and data entry. Research assistants should be prepared to work long days in the office analysing of photographs and matching them with the photo-identification catalogue.

PREREQUISITES:

  • Be reliable, adaptable, hardworking and patient as fieldwork is highly weather dependent
  • Have a mature and independent attitude towards marine mammal research
  • Speak fluent English
  • Be sociable, enthusiastic and have a positive attitude
  • Strong interest in the marine environment and conservation
  • Participants must be able to swim and should be comfortable working on small boats

QUALIFICATIONS:

  • The internship is open to students who are currently enrolled in, or recently graduated from an accredited college or university.
  • Preference will be given to students or recent graduates working towards biology, environmental studies, zoology, ecology, marine science, conservation, education, or other related fields.
  • Basic computer proficiency in MS Office
  • Strong and innovative science communication skills are an added bonus.
  • Intern should demonstrate strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Students that are adaptable, responsible, hardworking, willing to learn, and have attention to detail are encouraged to apply.
  • Must be able to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Interns should be available for the entire field season from 4 March – 25 March 2018.

Bonus skills (if you have them flaunt them!):

  • GIS skills
  • Skills related to creating and working with databases (particularly MS Access)
  • Marine mammal acoustic skills
  • Filming and photography skills

qualifications but not required:

  • Prior experience working on small vessels
  • Field research including photo-id experience
  • Previous experience in survey techniques, especially in marine mammal research
  • First AID/CPR certification

As this is a volunteer position, there is no monetary compensation (a small donation will be sought from non-Sri Lankan students), interns must cover their own transportation expenses to the field site (including flights and visas) in Weligama, Sri Lanka. Basic housing and food will be provided.

To Apply- Send your 2 page resume, cover letter, and two recent letters of reference to the Oceanswell Team at info+volunteer@oceanswell.org. In addition please answer the following questions in no more than 250 words (each)

  1. Give one example of your ability to be innovative in science.
  2. What do you hope to gain out of this experience?
  3. What skills and abilities do you bring to the project? Will you be willing to share your skills with the rest of the team?
  4. If the opportunity arose would you volunteer for Oceanswell in the Colombo office? (mostly data analysis and research)
  5. Why should we pick you?

Applications must be received by 14 February for decisions to be announced by the 21st in anticipation of the 4th March start date.

Thank you,

The Oceanswell Team.