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Bottlenose Dolphin Research Volunteer

Listed by Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre


Application deadline: Fri 01 Feb 2013
Organisation recruitment and selection is by application form. References are required. For more information, contact the Cambridge Volunteer Coordinator, Kerry Bell, at



Volunteers are required for specific periods from 20th March through to 5th November 2013 to help with our ongoing research, education and awareness-raising programmes concerning the marine wildlife of Cardigan Bay. CBMWC is run almost entirely by volunteers, so if you are successful in your application, you will be an integral part of our team.


Volunteering at CBMWC is a fantastic opportunity for you to make a positive contribution to marine wildlife conservation and meet new people who share your interests. You will learn about the species and habitats in Cardigan Bay, gain experience in field work, research methods, data processing, public awareness and education programmes. The data you collect will contribute to long running research studies on bottlenose dolphin site usage, abundance, photo-identification and acoustic studies.


Responsibilities/duties will include (but are not limited to):

·          Visitor centre operation, including dealing with enquiries and taking boat bookings

·          Land-based surveys in conjunction with Ceredigion County Council

·          Boat-based surveys*

·          Educational activities with children and the general public

·          Data entry and checking

·          Updating sightings information

·          Beach cleans


* Please note that boat surveys are weather dependent and volunteers take turns to join trips to act as onboard researcher. During times of bad weather, you will spend more time doing data entry and visitor centre work.


You will be expected to work up to 8 hours a days, six days a week. Field work can involve long periods outdoors, in often inclement weather. All volunteers are expected to contribute to all CBMWC activities, tasks and field work and to attend all training sessions provided. As such, if you are only looking to gain field experience, this is not the opportunity for you.


Student projects

We welcome undergraduate and postgraduate students who need field work (including boat) support and office space to conduct their research projects. Dedicated boat time can be made available. Please note that we do not have a list of specific project ideas but if you have a project idea in mind, please contact us to discuss whether your ideas are feasible.


Time commitment

Volunteers are needed from 20th March until 5th November 2013 for five separate blocks ranging from 4 to 9 weeks. Volunteers must be able to commit to an entire block and priority will be given to volunteers who are able to commit to more than one block. Applications are encouraged from volunteers who would like to join the team for the majority of (or entire) season and would like gain additional experience in photo-ID, volunteer training and coordination. Volunteers living locally who are available on a part-time basis are welcome year round and are greatly appreciated.


Volunteering dates 2013

·          Block A: 20th March to 16th April (4 weeks)

·          Block B: 17th April to 14th May (4 weeks)

·          Block C: 15th May to 9th July (8 weeks)

·          Block D: 10th July to 10th September (9 weeks)

·          Block E: 11th September to 5th November (8 weeks)


Volunteer fee

An administration fee of £35 will be required from all successful applicants.


Accommodation and expense arrangements

Shared accommodation in a comfortable and fully equipped house will be arranged for successful volunteers (where required) at a cost of £55 per week*, including fuel bills. Volunteers are responsible for their own food, travel and accommodation costs.

*Due to payment arrangements with the house owners, accommodation costs will be required in advance to cover the cost of each block so please ensure before applying that you can cover this expense.


Essential skills

·          An interest in wildlife and conservation

·          Positive, reliable, conscientious and mature attitude

·          Ability to work as part of a small team

·          Strong work ethic with an ability to work unsupervised

·          Adaptable and patient (particularly as boat work is weather dependent)

·          Confident in dealing with the public both face to face and over the telephone

·          Fluency in English

·          Willing to ask for help if unsure and admit mistakes


Desirable skills

·          Interest and/or experience of working with children in environmental education

·          Research and surveying experience

·          IT, photography/videography (own equipment required), design and fundraising skills are useful but not essential


Please note that enthusiasm for our work and the marine environment is as valued as experience, since full training is provided. 

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