Whale Research Assistant

This course provides essential skills for assisting researchers on observation vessels and conducting field-based scientific research. It’s a part of an internship program where you’ll actively support daily excursions and data collection efforts. The training focuses on identifying various whale and dolphin species in the Azores, capturing scientifically significant photos for population and migration studies, and initiating the recognition of behavioral data points.

Develop the ability to identify the various whales and dolphins found in the Azores and understand the role of a lookout.

Gain knowledge about whale biology, including their ecology, migration, feeding habits, and social behavior, with a focus on Azorean cetaceans.

Learn field techniques for conducting whale surveys and recording data, including the importance of Photo ID, and acquire skills for managing and cataloging research databases.

Explore the conservation aspects and current threats to whales and dolphins, discover the ongoing scientific whale research in the Azores, and how to contribute to global whale studies. Additionally, learn basic boat skills and assist with boat duties.

Program Eligibility and Requirements

To join the Whale Research Assistant Program, participants need to meet the following criteria:

  1. Age Requirement: Applicants must be 16 years of age or older.
  2. Highly recommended to obtain a camera (DSLR, Mirrorless with at least 300mm zoom)

Upon Enrollment in the Course, participants will be required to:

  • Attend the 5 Whale Research Assistant lectures
  • Read all textbook chapters
  • Complete textbook chapter reviews
  • Complete the Whale Research Assistant exam and score at least 80%
  • Pass the group presentation task
  • Attend the practical briefing prior to the observation boat trip
  • Manage and Input into Database
  • Complete Whale Museum tour with given presentation
  • Demonstrate proper photo-ID techniques
  • Demonstrate a good level of boat management skills and competency
  • Complete at least 8 boat trips to attempt to find and observe cetaceans

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