DELPHIS Mediterranean Dolphin Conservation is a non profit organisation dedicated to the conservation of cetaceans in Italy through education and research.
The study area is located in South Tyrrhenian Sea, in the waters of the islands of Ischia, Procida and Ventotene. The research is focused on the submarine canyon of Cuma, characterised by an high level of pelagic biodiversity. The region is important for seven different cetacean species: it was described as feeding ground for fin whales, breeding and feeding ground for striped dolphins and Risso´s dolphins and transitory area for social units of sperm whales. At last the area was listed, during the last Cetacean Action Plan of IUCN, as critical habitat for the Mediterranean short-beaked common dolphin.
The main purpose of the research is the conservation of the local community of common dolphin and of sperm whale, endangered species in Mediterranean Sea. We are looking for dedicated volunteer research assistants to assist with the data collection during the summer field season, which runs from the beginning of June 2008 to mid October 2008. The research will focus on the seven species present in the study area.
We are looking for enthusiastic, hard-working and reliable individuals who possess a strong interest in marine mammals to assist us during the scheduled field season. Volunteers who are able to commit for a minimum of 1 weeks are encouraged to apply.
Field work will involve boat-based surveys carried out from an historical sailing boat. The Jean Gab is a 17,7 m cutter built in 1930 in Marseilles. Data is collected by researchers and volunteers during daily standardized boat-based, photo identification surveys within the study area. Survey trips are conducted at sea state of Beaufort four or less. A detailed trip log of the route covered and GPS positions are recorded every 3 minutes. The routes cover the waters within 1000 m bathymetric line. Once animals are approached, number of animals, group composition, behavioural and acoustic data are recorded. The encounters continue until the groups are lost and, possibly, all the animals in the group have been photo-identified.
Bioacoustics: thanks to the support of a professional recording system and hydrophones it is possible to document the different vocalizations of the dolphins during their daily duties. Synchronized recording of underwater images, dolphin sounds and behavioural data can help to clarify the functional meaning of their vocalizations. During sightings, continuous recordings are taken to obtain a comprehensive set of acoustic data based on the local cetacean community.
Volunteers should be prepared to work long hours and be ready to spend nights out tracking down sperm whales. Volunteers will be expected to participate in data collection, data entry, boat steering and general logistical support. Volunteers will be expected to help in daily duties on board such as cooking and cleaning. For more information about the project please visit the following website: http://www.delphismdc.org/.
- Be responsible, independent, and conscientious,
- Be enthusiastic, have a good team spirit and genuine interest inmarine mammals.
- Have good communication skills,
- Be familiar with computers and the Microsoft Office softwares,
- Have some sailing or navigation experience. This would be advantageous but is not a prerequisite.
Application forms and detailed information can be found at http://www.delphismdc.org/en/fieldcourses_2008.pdf
If you are interested, please send your application by email or regular mail to Barbara Mussi at: DELPHIS
Mediterranean Dolphin Conservation
Island of Ischia
22, via Zaro
80075 Forio (NA)
Italytel&fax +39 081 989578