Humpback Whale Field Intensive Program in the Turks and Caicos Islands with the Marine and Coastal Ecology Research Center (MCERC) (and turtle ecology
Week-long sessions available January 07- the end of March,
2017. Each week is limited to 4 spots and may be used as internship experience
(for those desiring to use this opportunity as a CV builder!). There is the
likelihood of snorkeling with humpback whales during each session as we
evaluate the in-water program in the local whale watching industry.
MCERC is inviting people to join us for our research program
where we are initiating a multi-year study of humpback whales and the tourism
industry, collect images for photo-ID to contribute to the North Atlantic
Humpback Whale Catalog, and examine other questions related to seasonal
occurrence patterns. The program will be incorporated into the snorkeling and
boat whale watching programs to study the impact of a growing industry.
Participants in the program sessions will be collecting data
under the guidance of a team of four research assistants. The sessions are
Saturday through Saturday on Salt Cay, Turks and Caicos (TCI). Saturday and
Sunday are free days to take advantage of activities available on Salt Cay,
including diving, snorkeling, swimming, and beach walking on this beautiful
island. Monday through Friday we will be on the water for whale watching trips
with Salt Cay Divers, and snorkeling with humpback whales (when weather and the
behavior of whales permits) while we collect data to answer specific questions.
You will be an active part of the team collecting behavioral data, acoustic
data of singing humpback whales, and locating groups of whales using
directional hydrophones. This project is supporting the newly developing
regulations for TCI’s Department of Environment and Maritime Affairs (DEMA). We
will be collecting data on all cetacean species off TCI during boat trips.
Each day we will conduct roundtable discussions over peer
reviewed publications. We will learn humpback whale ecology and evolutionary
biology, incorporating policy, law, and conservation into the discussions. You
will be instructed in software programs related to acoustic data analysis and
matching fluke patterns. We will also collect data on other cetaceans off TCI,
creating catalogs from our images and images shared by the local businesses. We
will include beach walks aimed at collecting data for DEMA’s long term turtle
ecology study, effectively extending their research to the smaller islands.
Participants will be attending the open discussions for TCI’s residents and
tourists aimed at offering education outreach programs in support of local
The cost of this program is $900USD/week and covers three
meals a day, a place to sleep, boat excursions Monday through Friday, and the field
intensive curriculum. Bring your own snorkel gear for Saturday and Sunday or
rent from Salt Cay Divers to take full advantage of your time on the island. The
program fee does not include travel to and from Salt Cay, TCI.
For more details go to www.Marine-Eco.org/mcerc-moodle. To register, request passcodes to the
Education Hub by emailing Nicole.MCERC@gmail.com.
There is no application process, and spots will be filled on a first-come,
first served basis.
We are excited to be expanding our humpback whale research conducted
off Puerto Rico, to the Turks and Caicos Islands. We would love to have you