1 to 2 Weeks

Saving Queensland's Manatees & Dolphins

Moreton Bay is home to Moreton Island, which attracts many tourists with its crystal-clear lakes, pristine lagoons, and abundant marine life. But as Brisbane grows, this vital marine ecosystem faces extreme threats from coastal development, pollution, and increased freight traffic (the city has one of Australia’s fastest growing container ports).

Help scientists figure out exactly how industrialization is affecting Moreton Bay by snorkeling, boating, and wading in its clear waters. You will collect ecological data on the sediment, seagrass, and small fish and marine animals living there to determine how humans are changing the ecosystem. Seagrass, small fish and marine animals are key food sources for larger animals, such as fish, dugongs, and dolphins, so the health of these resources is important to the animals that call the bay home.

The information you collect will go into a report on the health of Moreton Bay, which researchers will use to educate the community and encourage politicians to protect this vital marine ecosystem. You can be a part of this important scientific research in subtropical Queensland, and see amazing wildlife in a beautiful environment along the way.

Expeditions are cost approximately $2800 (varies with currency fluctuation), are 7 days in length, include meals, accommodation, local transfers, training/lectures, and a modest contribution goes to the ongoing sustainability of the program.

Pre-Apply Now

What to Expect?

  • Program ID: # 2583
  • duration:
    1 to 2 Weeks
  • location:
    Moreton Bay
    Australia
    27° 11' 56.9364" S, 153° 22' 24.726" E
    AU
  • Fitness level:
    Moderately Fit
    Very Fit
  • Closest Airport:
    Brisbane (BNE)
  • Costs From:
    Over $3000
  • Program Type:
    Environmental & Wildlife Programs
  • Click Here for More Info

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Penguin Research in Argentina

Researchers don’t know exactly how or where penguins get their food, because it happens beneath the ocean. Join a team of scientists making cutting-edge use of technology solve this mystery, which could have important implications how we work to conserve this beloved bird.

Travel to the rookeries—nesting colonies—on the dramatic rocky shores of Argentina’s Golfo San Jorge to investigate. Spend your days in a national park, getting up close and personal with penguins in a colony with about 9,000 breeding pairs.

While the land within the national park has government protection, most of the waters off its coast don’t—which is why researchers need to document where these charming birds go and what they do out at sea. With that knowledge, they can understand which parts of the ocean most need protection to keep penguin populations strong.

Travelers will help tag penguins and map the location of each nest in the colony. They will also select 50 or so sets of penguin parents to track with sophisticated underwater cameras and GPS devices. Volunteers will help mount these devices, which will capture every move the penguins make. For the first time, researchers will get a detailed picture of how and where this bird population forage and feed their young.

Scientists selected this particular colony as the focus of their work because it’s in the center of penguin colonies along the coast of Patagonia. So far, their research has shown that penguins to the north and south of the focal colony seem better fed and healthier, while those to the center have higher chick mortality and generally less healthy chicks.

Their theory? Northern and southern penguins have more nearby food sources than the penguins along the center, which have to swim further expending more energy to get to their distant prey. This means the penguins in the middle colonies are also leaving their chicks unsupervised for longer periods of time, and bringing home fewer meals when they do come back to the colony.

By studying the colony in the middle, scientists can investigate factors that could be helping or harming colonies on either side. They will also study how the food availability and proximity impacts the survival and health of penguin chicks. With this information, these researchers can identify the areas of the ocean that should get government protection to keep essential penguin habitats safe.

Trips run 7 days in duration, and include all meals, shared accommodations, scientist-led training, and assists with the ongoing sustainability of the program. Rates from approximately $2500/person (may fluctuate with currency exchange).

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What to Expect?

  • Program ID: # 2582
  • duration:
    1 to 2 Weeks
  • location:
    Chubut
    United States
    42° 43' 38.5572" S, 65° 4' 11.3664" W
    US
  • Fitness level:
    Light Impact
    Moderately Fit
    Very Fit
  • Closest Airport:
    El Calafate
  • Costs From:
    $1500 to $3000
  • Program Type:
    Environmental & Wildlife Programs
  • Click Here for More Info

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Auditing Sharks in South Africa

Be among the first to research shysharks, catsharks, pajama sharks, and other small shark species, some of which live nowhere else in the world. They could disappear before humans get to learn much about them: 25 percent of the world’s shark and ray species (their relatives) face extinction.

That’s why scientists want your help. Very little is known about the sharks in Walker Bay. To better protect them, scientists urgently need to understand the diversity of species and how they are distributed throughout the bay. Then, they can determine which particular habitats and areas need year-round protected status.

Get to know these overlooked sharks from the shore or a research boat. You’ll survey the bay to fish for them, record the environment where they are caught, and safely release them. You’ll get up close and personal with the sharks as you measure them, photograph them, take tissues samples for genetic analysis, and tag them.

You’ll also see other marine animals: your team will setup underwater video cameras and analyze the footage. Walker Bay is rated one of the world’s best places to spot whales from land, so if you join the program while the migratory southern right whales happen to be in town, you’re likely to get an amazing view.

Trips are 7 days in length, and cost approximately $2275 USD per person (may fluctuate with exchange rate). Fees include all scientist-led training & research costs, local accommodation and all meals.

Pre-Apply Now

What to Expect?

  • Program ID: # 2581
  • duration:
    1 to 2 Weeks
  • location:
    Walker Bay
    South Africa
    34° 27' 45.2196" S, 19° 20' 50.9028" E
    ZA
  • Fitness level:
    Light Impact
    Moderately Fit
    Very Fit
  • Closest Airport:
    Cape Town
  • Costs From:
    $1500 to $3000
  • Program Type:
    Environmental & Wildlife Programs
  • Click Here for More Info

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Tracking Wolves in Canada

Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada is one of the few places where you can get a sense of North America as it was before European settlers arrived. Only five percent of Canada’s native grasslands remain, and they are right here, filled with iconic native animals like wolves, grizzly bears, bighorn sheep, and eagles.

Hike off-trail through rugged parts of the park that tourists never see, past grizzly bears and herds of elk, to help researchers untangle the complex interactions between wolves, elk, and fire. Park managers set controlled fires to keep invasive aspen trees from taking over the native grasslands. Elk eat the aspen shoots that grow after the burns, clearing space for grass to grow. But wolves may be scaring the elk away from their grazing grounds.

To help keep this amazing place intact, park managers need to understand exactly how this food-chain reaction works. Help them by measuring how much vegetation elk are eating and how the controlled fires have shaped the plant populations. Spend one day on the trail of wolves, following their tracks in areas of high wolf activity, such as their meeting sites and travel corridors.

Trips are either 7 days or 13 days in duration, and range from approximately $2100 - $3000 per peson. Costs cover meals, accommodations, transfers, training, and help include a contribution to the financial sustainability of the program.

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What to Expect?

  • Program ID: # 2580
  • duration:
    1 to 2 Weeks
  • location:
    Waterton Lakes
    Canada
    49° 5' 20.5332" N, 113° 59' 7.2672" W
    CA
  • Fitness level:
    Light Impact
    Moderately Fit
    Very Fit
  • Closest Airport:
    Calgary (YYC)
  • Costs From:
    $1500 to $3000
    Over $3000
  • Program Type:
    Environmental & Wildlife Programs
  • Click Here for More Info

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Dolphin Research in Slovenia

A decade ago, people thought that dolphins occasionally visited the Adriatic Sea off Slovenia, but didn’t actually live there. The researchers who lead this expedition proved the conventional wisdom wrong: they identified and tracked up to 100 dolphins that feed, breed, and nurse in the sea year round.

Make it possible for these researchers to continue monitoring the dolphins they’ve come to know over the past decade. Help them learn which parts of the Adriatic sea are most important to the dolphins, so that they can provide key policy makers with the research necessary to draft laws that protect the waters and dolphins.

The researchers also want to get a better understanding of how the dolphins interact. They’ve started to recognize two different social groups, and want to know more about how and why these two sets of dolphins stick together.

Each day, you’ll boat into the Adriatic to search for these charismatic marine mammals. You’ll record their behavior and environmental data. You will also note any loggerhead sea turtles that you happen to spot; the Adriatic is an important breeding habitat for this species.

10 day trips run June through September. Expect costs in/around $2700 USD and include apartment accommodations, meals, training, and a contribution to the ongoing financial health of the research and conservation program.

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What to Expect?

  • Program ID: # 2579
  • duration:
    1 to 2 Weeks
  • location:
    Piran
    Slovenia
    45° 31' 43.7664" N, 13° 33' 58.0464" E
    SI
  • Fitness level:
    Light Impact
    Moderately Fit
  • Closest Airport:
    Trieste, Italy (TRS)
  • Costs From:
    $1500 to $3000
    Over $3000
  • Program Type:
    Environmental & Wildlife Programs
  • Click Here for More Info

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Pacific Sea Turtle Volunteer Project, Costa Rica

Volunteer with sea turtles in Costa Rica as one of our marine conservation volunteers, and join this Olive Ridley turtle programme in the spectacular Southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica on Drake Bay, home to over 25 dolphin and whale species and the Olive Ridley Turtle. Marine conservation volunteers will take part in night surveys, monitoring eggs and baby turtles, releasing baby turtles into the ocean and helping with local conservation education projects.

You can join for 1 week up to 12 weeks from July to December every year. We have places all throughout the year.

Individuals, groups and students doing research all welcome.

Cost includes lodging in main camp/homestay, 3 meals a day, training & supervision, snacks for patrols, materials; starts at £370.

In the study area there are four species of sea turtles. We have identified protect the nests of the Olive Ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) although the presence of Pacific Green (Chelonia mydas), Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) and Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricate) turtles has been recorded too. Between 150 and 250 Olive Ridley turtles arrive every season at the 3.6 km Drake Beach. The scientific mission of the project is to generate the data necessary to support the conservation of this nesting population. Marine conservation volunteers will gain experience in numerous aspects of the investigation and conservation of sea turtles.

 

Pre-Apply Now

What to Expect?

  • Program ID: # 2572
  • duration:
    1 to 2 Weeks
    2 Weeks to 1 Month
    1 to 3 Months
  • location:
    El Progreso
    Costa Rica
    CR
  • Fitness level:
    Moderately Fit
    Very Fit
  • Closest Airport:
    San Jose (SJO)
  • Costs From:
    $500 to $1000
    $1000 to $1500
    $1500 to $3000
  • Program Type:
    Environmental & Wildlife Programs
  • Click Here for More Info

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Dolphin & Whale Research, South Africa

Become a marine conservation volunteer and work on dolphin and whale research projects, helping to understand more about these magnificent species. Marine conservation volunteers will also have the opportunity to assist with community education projects on the South African coastline and aid with maintaining the high coastline quality. Opportunities also exist to volunteer with sea turtle and penguin rescue and monitor river health.  Long term marine research internship placements also available.

You can volunteer in South Africa for between 1 week and 10 months, and we have places available throughout the year.

Individuals, groups and students are all welcome.

Cost for food, accommodation, equipment, programme materials and training starts from £480.

Run by ORCA, otherwise known as the Ocean Research Conservation Africa (ORCA) Marine Foundation, this project allows marine conservation volunteers and research interns to work on dolphin and whale research projects, in addition to working alongside the community in education programmes.

Plettenberg Bay (lovingly referred to as “Plett” by locals), on the world famous Garden Route, is home to some of the world’s most fascinating marine species, including Southern Right Whales, Humpback Whales, Bryde's Whales, Bottlenose Dolphins, CommonDolphins, Orca or Killer Whales, and Great White Sharks, to name but a few.

Pre-Apply Now

What to Expect?

  • Program ID: # 2571
  • duration:
    1 to 2 Weeks
    2 Weeks to 1 Month
    1 to 3 Months
    More than 3 Months
  • location:
    Plettenberg Bay
    South Africa
    ZA
  • Fitness level:
    Moderately Fit
    Very Fit
  • Closest Airport:
    George, South Africa (GRJ)
  • Costs From:
    $500 to $1000
    $1000 to $1500
    $1500 to $3000
    Over $3000
  • Program Type:
    Environmental & Wildlife Programs
  • Click Here for More Info

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Kariega Community Volunteer Programme, South Africa

Become a community development Volunteer in Kenton on Sea in South Africa. Projects include teaching English, pre-school volunteering, assisting the elderly, youth guidance, working in soup kitchens, IT coaching and beach conservation.  You will work with underprivileged communities across a broad spectrum of age categories; from the children at pre-school programmes through to the elderly on the “Age in Action” project.

Volunteers can join year round from 2 to 12 weeks in duration. We have places throughout 2016 available.

Individuals, groups and students all welcome.

Cost including comfortable accommodation in a volunteer house, food, training & supervision, transportation when at the project, laundry; starts at £695.

This Community Volunteer Programme is the heart of an ecosystem of social change where initiatives are both mutually beneficial and dependent. The approach of this project is termed ‘Adaptive Development’.  We listen and learn about what the community needs and we provide tools that can be used in inspiring and unintended positive ways. Our start point is our ethos: even the poorest of communities are resources rich.

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What to Expect?

  • Program ID: # 2570
  • duration:
    1 to 2 Weeks
    2 Weeks to 1 Month
    1 to 3 Months
  • location:
    Kenton On Sea
    United States
    US
  • Fitness level:
    Moderately Fit
    Very Fit
  • Closest Airport:
    Port Elizabeth, South Africa (PLZ)
  • Costs From:
    $500 to $1000
    $1000 to $1500
  • Program Type:
    Community Development Projects
  • Click Here for More Info

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Dolphins & Whales, Italy

he research focuses on the spectacularly large fin whale as well as on sperm whales, Risso’s dolphins, pilot whales, striped andbottlenose dolphins.  We have places for Cetacean Volunteer Researchers to join for one or more weeks from May to September of every year.

Individuals, groups, families and students doing research all welcome.

Cost for food, accommodation on board the research boat, programme materials, equipment, scientific lectures & training; from £770.

Since 1990 this project has been investigating the ecology and behaviour of cetaceans living in the Cetacean Sanctuary - a special marine protected area extending between Italy and France. The research focuses on the spectacularly large fin whale as well as onsperm whales, Risso’s dolphins, pilot whales, striped and bottlenose dolphins.

The Project
Cetacean volunteer researchers will be directly involved in field activities, helping the scientists to collect cetacean data and assist them in preliminary analyses of digital photos and acoustic recordings, while learning basics in sailing.

Description
You will be trained through specific lectures and work side by side with researchers. During this period you will be asked to contribute to the data collection and analysis (e.g. recording cetaceans number and behaviour at regular intervals, preliminary analysis of cetaceans digital photos, etc).

Pre-Apply Now

What to Expect?

  • Program ID: # 2565
  • duration:
    1 to 2 Weeks
  • location:
    Portosole
    Italy
    IT
  • Fitness level:
    Moderately Fit
    Very Fit
  • Closest Airport:
    Nice, France (NCE)
  • Costs From:
    $500 to $1000
    $1000 to $1500
  • Program Type:
    Environmental & Wildlife Programs
  • Click Here for More Info

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Cetacean conservation- Dolphin research in Greece

Become a marine conservation volunteer and participate in dolphin research in the Ionian Sea, helping to provide a marine environment that provides long-term viability for the species. The research focuses on the Bottlenose Dolphin and the Short-Beaked Common Dolphin, in the Amvrakikos Gulf and the Inner Ionian Sea archipelago. We have places for Cetacean Volunteer Researchers to join for one or more weeks from April to September each year.

Individuals, groups, families and students doing research all welcome.

Cost for food, accommodation, programme materials, equipment, scientific lectures & training; from £730.

An opportunity for marine conservation volunteers to take part in Bottlenose and Short-Beaked Common Dolphins research in the Ionian Sea. You can help with some of the following activities during your stay:

* Monitoring dolphins within the research area through the use of specific surveying techniques,
Dolphin photo-identification, used to identify individual dolphins and their traits, in an attempt to fully understand how expansive and diverse local dolphin populations are,
    
* Recording dolphin behaviour and group sizes, in addition to how different groups interact - data is logged with GIS software,
* Collection of data regarding other marine species such as sea turtle, tuna, swordfish and seabirds - data which gives the project scientists knowledge of how the area is faring in a broader context,
* Inspection of dead dolphins in order to understand cause of death, as well as to collect biological and genetic data that can help to enhance further investigatory projects
* Assessment of how local dolphins interact with local fisheries, and how their interaction can fuel positive change in the area for the marine environment

Pre-Apply Now

What to Expect?

  • Program ID: # 2564
  • duration:
    1 to 2 Weeks
  • location:
    Vonitsa
    Greece
    GR
  • Fitness level:
    Moderately Fit
    Very Fit
  • Closest Airport:
    Athens, Greece (ATH)
  • Costs From:
    $500 to $1000
    $1000 to $1500
  • Program Type:
    Environmental & Wildlife Programs
  • Click Here for More Info

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