Oceanswell is looking to fill 2 positions within the organization. These positions are open to anyone looking to support the work of Oceanswell and gain experience.

To apply, email [email protected] with the following:

  1. Cover letter (maximum 300 words) outlining why you are suited for this job and a short description of your previous related experience(s)
  2. CV (maximum 2 pages)
  3. Name and contact details for two referees
  4. Please mention your last name and the job you are applying for in the subject of your email. E.g. deSilva_VolunteerIntern

Application deadline is the 15th February 2020 after which short-listed applicants will be contacted for a skype chat, final decisions will be announced by the 18th and start date will be 21st February.


The Organization:


Oceanswell is Sri Lanka’s first marine conservation research and education non-profit. Oceanswell conducts much-needed marine conservation research around Sri Lanka, provides opportunities for students to experience marine research first-hand, educates future ocean heroes with knowledge about the oceans using traditional and social media and encourages and provides opportunities for ocean engagement.

Oceanswell is currently seeking to recruit 2 volunteer interns to assist both in the field and in the office.



  • The duration of this position will be from last February – mid April 2020. 



This position shall report directly to the Research Assistant of Oceanswell.


Job Description

The volunteer position entails assisting during field surveys and analysis of photo-identification (photo-id), communications, and working on the photo-id database in the office post-field work. 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 when doing field work. In the period post-field work, interns will be required to report to the office during working hours 5 days a week.


  • Assisting with; boat-based photo-id surveys from a large vessel and collecting other relevant behavioural data.
  • Analysis of all data; 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 field and work hard with analysis and matching of photos for the identification data base.
  • Produce written documents that can support the outreach and social media efforts of Oceanswell.
  • Sri Lankan students will also have an opportunity to work on mini-projects based on existing datasets.


  • 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 boats


  • 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 and for period after: 21 Feburary – mid April 2020.

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

Preferred qualifications but not required:

  • Prior experience working on 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 donation will be sought from non-Sri Lankan students particularly for the field component), 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.


Thank you,

The Oceanswell Team.