This position is responsible for assisting the Monitoring Officer in the running of the “Cardigan Bay Monitoring Project” and coordinating the project interns. The project is based in New Quay, Ceredigion, West Wales, and works towards delivering on the conservation management of the bottlenose dolphin, harbour porpoise and grey seal populations of Cardigan Bay, monitoring their abundance, distribution, reproductive success and population structure using a combination of line-transect, photo-identification, land-based and acoustic surveys.

Start Date: April 1st, 2019/End Date: October 27th, 2019

Responsibilities will include, but are not limited to:

  • Coordination between the Monitoring Officer, Sightings Officer and project interns – in charge of the intern shared house and the intern weekly office rota.
  • Assisting the Monitoring Officer & Sightings Officer in training interns and other volunteers in land- and boat-based surveys, photo ID studies, database entry, and more.
  • Assisting the Monitoring Officer in all phases of the research.
  • Assisting the Sightings Officer with maintenance of the national sightings network.
  • Optional opportunity to undertake a personal research project supervised by the Monitoring Officer. Research topic will be chosen according to Sea Watch Foundation requirements and applicant’s interests.


The successful applicant is expected to have completed a BSc degree (or higher) in biology, marine biology, zoology, chemistry, or related field and able to demonstrate previous experience in marine mammal research. A strong interest and knowledge of British cetaceans and experience are beneficial.

The applicant should ideally have some experience using DSLR cameras. Practical experience of photo-identification (both photography and matching) is desirable. Experience with other equipment regularly used by Sea Watch Foundation such as hydrophone, theodolite, digiscope and aerial camera drone is advantageous.

The applicant must be proficient with database and word processing software and be willing to learn new software applications. Specific experience in use of Access and GIS would be advantageous. Knowledge of other relevant software such as PAMGuard or Raven is useful but not essential.

The preferred candidate should have a proven track record as a team player since the project will involve working closely with other researchers but must also be able to supervise small groups of people given that they will be coordinating a team of at least 8 interns.  The Research Assistant and interns live and work together daily which requires a high degree of diplomacy and interpersonal skills to maintain relationships and team morale. Previous experience working successfully in similar roles is essential.

Applicants should be aware that they will be assisting in running ongoing, established research projects that routinely inform government agencies on the status of cetaceans in the UK and accordingly are expected to take the internship seriously and prioritise it over extra-curricular activities. Working in a small NGO environment in a tight knit team can be a challenging experience and requires a high degree of flexibility, tolerance and a positive attitude.

Applicants must be self-motivated, with the drive and determination to work independently and responsibly without direct supervision. The work load is varied and therefore a high degree of organisation, attention to detail and ability to prioritise are essential.

If a personal research project is undertaken, this brings the opportunity to submit work for scientific publication, and for presentation at the European Cetacean Society Conference. However, this is a challenging position and it is up to the Research Assistant to pursue project work while not prioritising it over existing tasks.

The Research Assistant is expected to work 6 days a week with office hours running from 9AM to 6PM with an hour lunch break. Field work regularly falls outside of office hours, particularly land-based watches which take place throughout the day in two hours shifts from 7AM to 9PM. Line transect surveys are all day surveys and will typically start in the early morning hours and run for at least 8 hours. The Research Assistant is also entitled to one week’s holiday during the season, the dates of which should be agreed upon at the start of placement if possible.

This position is unpaid but (shared) accommodation will be provided in the intern house free of charge.

The Research Assistant will be responsible for their own travel expenses to New Quay for the 2019 field season. Due to the touristic background of New Quay, part-time paid evening work is generally easy to find if required by the applicant. There are a number of external organisations that may offer grants to partially cover living expenses (see below).

International applications are welcome, but it is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure visa requirements are met and the chosen visa option should be highlighted in the application form.

Potential funding sources to support your internship with Sea Watch

SWF is aware that undertaking unpaid work can be challenging. However, as a relatively small charity it is currently not able to offer compensation for internships.  However, there are some outside funding bodies that may be able to help you fund your internship. If you are accepted for an internship, we are happy to provide letters to support your funding application.

If you are a current student or recent graduate it is worth checking whether your university offers financial support for students undertaking field work related to their degree subject.

About the Sea Watch Foundation

The Sea Watch Foundation is a national marine environmental research charity that aims to achieve better conservation of whales and dolphins in the seas around Britain and Ireland, by involving the public in scientific monitoring of populations and the threats they face. It is the longest-running research charity in UK focusing upon cetaceans around the British Isles, and maintains a national sightings database, the largest in Europe. It works closely with all the UK statutory conservation agencies, and advises UK government, the UNEP Regional intergovernmental Conservation Agreement – ASCOBANS, the European Commission, as well as the major conservation charities and marine industries operating in the UK.

At Sea Watch Wales, we are dedicated to raising awareness, knowledge and conservation of the marine wildlife of the region. Our work is funded by the Countryside Council for Wales, Defra, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, and Environment Wales; and we work closely with the local management authority, Ceredigion County Council.

Internships with Sea Watch have frequently led to established posts in national and international research and conservation bodies, as well as providing a stepping stone for students to undertake doctoral studies in marine mammal science.

Public awareness

 We aim to raise awareness and understanding of the importance of the local marine wildlife and the habitats supporting them, to encourage respect and conservation of the area and its wildlife for future generations. We also run training courses for the public in cetacean identification and survey methods.

A list of recent of recent awareness and education achievements is given below:

  • Sea Watch Director, Peter Evans, received the European Cetacean Society Conservation Award, 2012
  • Sea Watch Foundation was recipient of the UNEP/ASCOBANS “Outreach and Education Award”, 2009
  • Sea Watch Foundation was voted best UK animal adoption scheme by BBC Wildlife, December 2008


The purpose of our research here is to monitor the marine mammal populations inhabiting Cardigan Bay, so as to gain information to aid the conservation and long-term well being of these animals and the local marine environment. This is achieved by conducting various projects including:

  • Estimating the abundance and distribution of bottlenose dolphins, harbour porpoises and grey seals within Cardigan Bay using distance sampling and opportunistic boat surveys
  • Maintaining and updating a catalogue of photographically identified bottlenose dolphins in Wales in order to study their abundance, social structure, movements and life histories.

How to Apply

To apply:

Please send your CV and application form, with a cover letter and contact details of two referees, reporting any relevant experience you have, to Katrin Lohrengel-


Deadline: 11th January 2019.


Please specify RESEARCH ASSISTANT/INTERN COORDINATOR in your subject title.


Successful applicants will be notified of the outcomes by 10th February 2019.

Please mention when applying for this job!

Key Information


Sea Watch Foundation




Full Time


Entry Level, Graduate, Mid Level, Postgraduate


Biology, Conservation, Marine Conservation, Research


New Quay, Wales, United Kingdom

Application Deadline:

11th January 2019 at 11:45pm