BACKGROUND: The Marine Environment Research Association – AIMM, is a non-profit, non-governmental organization focused on the research and conservation of marine species, running an ongoing study of cetaceans in southern Portugal (Algarve). This project aims to obtain baseline information on species occurrence, behavior, and social structure of the local cetacean populations in order to obtain scientific data to support conservation measures and inform marine management policies.

The main species observed are Short-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus delphis), Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), and Harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena), although other species such as Minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) and Fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) can also be sighted.

AIMM Interns are young, hard-working individuals who are willing to contribute to the association and support on-going activities, while experiencing fieldwork at sea, learning data collection and processing methodologies, and being a part of AIMM’s team of researchers and marine biologists for a period of time. All team members and participants share accommodation, house tasks, knowledge and experience in an environmental friendly and multicultural environment. 

Interns have the additional option to enrich their time with AIMM by beginning or improving their SCUBA skills with a PADI-certified instructor. 


WHERE: Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal

WHEN: The field season lasts from May 1 – October 31, 2018. The minimum internship attendance is 7 days, preferably starting on a Monday. 


FIELDWORK: The field trips are conducted in AIMM’s research vessel, Ketos, or in opportunistic platforms (commercial dolphin-watching boats). Fieldwork is dependent on weather conditions and seat availability in the dolphin-watching boats. Field days can be intense, especially in the peak of summer, but are fulfilling and good fun. The interns will be trained to: 

  • Conduct on-board surveys of marine species occurrence;
  • Record effort tracks on a handheld GPS;
  • Collect data on behavior, group size, species, etc.;
  • Collection of photo to photo-identification, acoustic recording, and underwater videos while on-board.


DATA ANALYSIS: This will be conducted on a daily basis and will entail entering data into established databases and spreadsheets, photo-identification processing, and preliminary data interpretation. 

INTERNSHIP FEES: AIMM is a non-profit organization that relies on donations from our volunteers, partners, and conservation-minded people like you so that we may continue our important research and education programs in the Algarve. This internship requires a monetary contribution which is used to off-set the cost of accommodation and running a non-profit. For more information on internship fees for the 2018 season, please contact: 

Included in the fee is:

  • Accommodation in the research house;
  • Transportation to/from the marina;
  • Meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner);
  • Fieldwork in the research vessel or commercial dolphin-watching vessels.


Not included in the fee is: 

  • Transportation to/from Albufeira;
  • Meals in restaurants and snacks;
  • Free time activities;
  • Personal insurance (all participants should have health and/or travel insurance);
  • Personal expenses.


  • Be above the age of 16;
  • Have a mature attitude towards marine mammal research and environment;
  • Be autonomous and flexible;
  • Be able to live and work in an international team and mainly outdoors at sea;
  • Speak English;
  • Participate for minimum 7 days.


Preference will be given to those who have:

  • Relevant marine mammal field experience
  • Working experience on research vessels
  • Experience working from dolphin/whale watching platforms
  • Experience in photo-identification
  • Professional cameras that can be used for photo-ID
  • Availability to stay for longer periods of time
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