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.
Archipelagos’ Marine Mammal Research Team uses the equipped sailing boats “Pinelopi” and “Naftilos”, 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, 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, works 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 can be carried out on either single-day research trips or multi-day expeditions. These 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 Asterias (7m 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 (Loggerhead and Green sea turtle).
- 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.
Additional areas that interns can assist with are:
- 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 or to collect data for scientific publications.
Participants have the opportunity to collect data for producing a thesis and 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.